Museum of Contemporary Native Arts

Nathan Pohio | Spyglass Field Recordings: Santa Fe

January 19 – March 31

Guest Curator: Megan Tamati-Quennell
South Gallery

Nathan Pohio, Inverted landscape Otahuna, 2012

Nathan Pohio, Inverted landscape Otahuna, 2012

Spyglass field Recordings: Santa Fe is a solo exhibition of work by leading contemporary Maori video, photography and installation artist Nathan Pohio. The exhibition title is taken from an ongoing series Pohio continues to develop that refers to instruments used for observation and includes new works he developed during a residency at the Santa Fe Art Institute.

Nathan Pohio is increasingly being recognized for his dynamic and quirky work that combines his sophisticated and wide-ranging knowledge and love of cinema, filmmaking, the technologies of film, photography and optical devices and their relationship to painting, 70’s popular culture – the era he grew up in, Indigenous politics and oblique Maori, and more specifically Ngai Tahu tribal signifiers and views of the world.

The exhibition title is taken from an ongoing series Pohio has and will continue to develop. It refers to instruments used for observation both visual and audio so is an epithet for this show – an exhibition of Pohio’s recordings and observations and a meditation on the nature of perception and reality. 

The field recordings part of the title is a term used for an audio recording produced outside of a recording studio.  In that context it often involves the capture of ambient noises that are low level and complex. In the context of this exhibition, as well as holding those meanings, field recordings is also used as a reference to being elsewhere.

The exhibition will be made up of recent works that show the diversity of Pohio’s practice including a series of new photographs made this year while on a month long residency at the Sante Fe Art Institute, a work that documents his time in two cities in Australia and recordings of images from his home.  His use of old and new photographic and film technologies will also be expressed within this exhibition.


Sound field recordings: Santa Fe is Pohio’s first international solo show and the first show of contemporary Maori art to be shown at MoCNA.

About the artist: Nathan Pohio is an artist working in video and other photo media. Pohio works with found and gifted objects that are rendered into
material for artworks and installations.  He has been focusing on the history of cinema and the relationship of that history to painting and optical devices. He works from the perspective of his Maori ancestry as an interface with the world and wonder’s what it is to be
human when confronting the inherent dualities of being of Maori and European decent, Pohio has realized a beauty within the conflict.

About the curator: Megan Tamati-Quennell is the Curator of Contemporary Maori, Indigenous Art at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa.  A position she has held since 2005.  She is of Te Atiawa, Ngati Mutunga, Ngai Tahu, Kati Mamoe and Waitaha descent. Over the past 24 years, Tamati-Quennell has worked as a Curator, Arts facilitator and Arts writer and is one of three Indigenous Art Curators in New Zealand who specialises in contemporary Maori and Indigenous art.  She has been at the forefront of many developments in contemporary Maori arts practice which she describes as ‘art made on the margin between the indigenous and the mainstream’.

Guest Essay by Megan Tamati-Quennell