Biennale-invited artist’s work launches Mahara iti



Photo: Mizuho Nishioka (left) - and her work in Mahara iti - with Mahara Gallery Director Janet Bayly.

The work of an artist invited to show at this year’s Venice Biennale is the launch exhibition for MAHARA’s temporary gallery space, Mahara iti.


Kāpiti-based Mizuho Nishioka is exhibiting recent work in the new gallery space, opened to maintain a district gallery presence in Kāpiti while the main gallery building is redeveloped.


Later this year she will be exhibiting at the European Culture Centre as part of the Venice Biennale – not as New Zealand’s representative but at the invitation of the European Cultural Commission.


Mizuho was born in Japan. Her exhibition of recent work will be on display at Mahara iti until late April.


Gallery Director Janet Bayly says Mizuho’s work focuses on the production of photographic images and how, by amendment, alteration or disruption of the photographic process can explore new territory.


It’s a wonderful exhibition to launch our temporary gallery, Mahara iti,” she says.


Mizuho says her work is based in photography but it strives to change the way she engages with the recording process.


I have discarded my camera; I have dropped it in the sea, dragged it along the ground, let the weather, moisture and environment make its own image,” she says.


Mizuho Nishioka says it is an artist’s dream to exhibit at the Venice Biennale. She knows that her Japanese birth is an obstacle because typically selected artists represent the country of their birth.


But the European Cultural Commission invited me to participate as an individual. Then the question of identity arises.


When Janet Bayly described me as a Kāpiti artist for this exhibition, I was overwhelmed.


Finally I feel like I have gained identity. To me. Identity is, no matter how hard I search for it, not something I can find or take or make – it is something that is given to me.”


The redevelopment of the Mahara Gallery building began in November of last year after many years of planning and fund-raising.


The Gallery is scheduled to re-open early in 2023. Mahara iti can be found at 2 Mahara Place, in the lane leading from the former SH1 to the town square.


New Zealand’s representative at the Venice Biennale is Yuki Kihara – the first artist of Pacific descent to represent the country.