Veteran Tuhoe activist and artist Tame Iti has teamed up with internationally recognised artist Owen Dippie to collaborate on a series of paintings to be exhibited in Auckland.

The exhibition named Ko Koe Ko Au (You and I) blends each artist's signature styles together to tell a story of unity, strength, respect and understanding.

"New Zealand as we know it is in the midst of being re-colonised by American and corporate interests through the TPPA," Iti said.

"We have seen this type of cultural erosion before. The new works speak about how Maori have dealt with this reality and offers it to everyone."

My collaboration with Owen shows how Maori and non Maori can work together for a common goal. This is how we build a nation... with You and I.Tame Iti


Dippie, from Kawerau, recently opened a new gallery space on Auckland's K'Rd with his manager and wife Erin.

"The idea for this exhibition came out of a mural that we worked on together in Taneatua. I painted the portrait of one of the local Tuhoe kuia (female elder) and Tame added the landscape and his little people behind her, adding the depth of generations standing in support."

Dippie said working with Iti had felt very natural.

"He is completely fearless when it comes to breaking rules and trying new ideas. Like myself Tame believes art is a universal language that we can use to communicate, create converstations and build relations."

?Ko Koe Ko Au (You and I) featuring combined works from Tame Iti and Owen Dippie runs from February 27 to March 31 at the OD Gallery, 545 Karangahape Rd, Auckland.

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