Counter narraitves presents the works of three artists who use digital interactive technology to present a different perspective on the world around us. Shannon Novak, Johnson Witehira and Reuben Friend use augemented reality, video games and sound activated painting to create fun yet challenging artworks.




Reuben Friend (b.1981) has a Master’s Degree in Philosophy and Post Graduate qualifications in Museum Studies from Massey University, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Māori Visual Art and a Diploma in Te Reo Māori from Te Wānanga o Aotearoa. He is an artist, curator and is currently employed as the Director of Pātaka Art + Museum in Porirua. His artworks including painting and digital interactive media, using Māori painterly practices to interrogate narratives in Western art and history. He has exhibited extensively nationally and internationally, with recent exhibitions including; ‘Gold & Greenstone’ at the Gold Coast Art Gallery in 201; ‘Art That Needs You’ at Tauranga Art Gallery in February 2018; and ‘Performance Arcade: Counter Narratives’ in Wellington in February 2018. 


Johnson Witehira is a designer and artist of Ngā Puhi (Ngai-tā-te-auru), Tamahaki (Ngāti Hinekura), and Pakeha heritage. In 2007 he graduated from Whanganui School of Design and in 2013 he completed a doctorate in Māori Design at Massey University. He has major permanent public commissioned artworks around Wellington City, including the the 'Waituhi' mural on Opera House Lane, the window's installation at the Academcy of Fine Arts, the recent 'Ngā Kākano: The Seeds' mural currently surrounding the facade of the Wellington City Council. In 2014 his 'Land of Tara' series was exhibited on the Courtenay Place Lightboxes. He has had numerous international projects, including his 2012 animated works that were exhibited in the first ever syncronised display of digital content in Times Square, New York. He has had numerous international projects. More recently he exhibited works at the prestigious Talente Munich in Germany in 2015, and at Urban Shaman Gallery in Canada in 2017 as part of the InDIGInous Aotearoa exhibition of Māori digital art.


Shannon Novak lives and works in Auckland, New Zealand. He creates compositions for objects, locations, and people much as musicians might compose for/about places, persons, or experiences with emotional resonance for them. Trained initially as a pianist, his practice encompasses painting, sculpture, and installation, with a focus on using geometric forms to explore and render his understanding of the interrelationships between sound, colour, form, time, space, and social context. Novak graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Applied Information Systems from the Western Institute of Technology at Taranaki, New Plymouth (New Zealand), and later gained a Master of Education (Hons) from Massey University, Palmerston North (New Zealand) in 2009. He then graduated MFA (Hons) from the University of Auckland (New Zealand) in 2014. Novak’s installations and exhibitions have been seen in national and international institutions, festivals, and public spaces, including a major new installation at Pātaka Art+Museum and recent works at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki (Auckland, New Zealand); Dunedin Public Art Gallery (Dunedin, New Zealand); McKinney Avenue Contemporary (Dallas, Texas, USA); Ningbo Museum of Art (Ningbo, China); and Georgia Museum of Art (Athens, Georgia, USA).  


Curated by Reuben Friend, artist and Director of Pātaka Art + Museum in Porirua.

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