Te Kore, Te Po, Te Ao Marama

Te Po

Te Po, featuring Konae Korero #2 by Darryn George

Te Kore, Te Po, Te Ao Marama

  • Where

    Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

  • When

    5 December 2020 - 11 July 2021

Extended display from Toi Tū Toi Ora.

Te Kore – The Great Nothingness, the Empty Void 

All cultures recall creation narratives that speak to universal questions about human existence and our place within the order of all things. The Māori creation story is the oldest philosophy of Aotearoa New Zealand and articulates the origin stories that Māori still recall and observe today. This begins in the state of Te Kore, described as the great nothingness – the empty faceless void. In Te Kore there is nothing above, nothing below. Time is suspended in darkness – in a state of latent being and unrealised potential. This gallery includes artworks that consider these monumental ideas about nothingness and being in powerful and provocative ways. The works suggest an open-ended conversation to contemplate grand narratives about the celestial realm, cosmology and creation.


Te Pō – The Perpetual Night

From the empty void comes the night and the realm of Te Pō – the perpetual night. Te Pō’s long solitary periods are flooded in shades of darkness: Te Pō (the dark night); Te Pō-nui (the great night); Te Pō-roa (the long night); Te Pō-uriuri (the deep night); Te Pō-tangotango (the intensely dark night). These are the names of a place where no light exists. However, within this darkness come moments of movement – the conscious stirring of being, the beginnings of a change towards the realm of becoming. The artworks in this room explore the dimensions of night, shadow and form that exist in the darkness of Te Pō to explore concepts about states of being and ideas about a transformation which is starting to take place. Within the final state of Te Pō-tahuri-mai-ki-taiao (the night of turning towards the revealed world) we start to see the restless movements of life begin.