Areta Wilkinson (b. Kaitaia, Aotearoa New Zealand ) is one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s most respected artists in the fields of contemporary jewellery. Wilkinson’s practice engages with Māori philosophies and knowledge. Her work explores whakapaipai concepts of Māori personal adornment in the context of bicultural New Zealand, especially whakapapa and worldviews that are informed by Ngāi Tahu perspectives. She is concerned with histories of contact and tribal knowledge, drawing connections between the cultural production of her ancestors and her own objects. Her recent work represents an ongoing investigation into the history of Māori wearable taonga (prized possessions) particularly relevant to her iwi community in Te Waipounamu, the South Island where she lives. Wilkinson has been the recipient of numerous accolades and awards and has participated in a number of international residencies and speaking events.
In 2017 she held the position of Visiting Fellow, Museum of Archeology and Anthropology & Visiting Wolfson College Research Associate at University of Cambridge, UK. Wilkinson was the Ngāi Tahu Artist in Residence 2019 at Dunedin School of Art, Dunedin and Artist in Residence on the Aboriginal Residency, Banff Centre, Banff, Canada in 2003. In 2016 she and fellow esteemed jeweller Alan Preston presented Contemporary Jewellery Aotearoa New Zealand at Die Neue Sammlung The International Design Museum, Munich, Germany. Exhibitions include: The 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art, Queensland Art Gallery of Modern Art (GAGOMA), Brisbane, AU (2018); Cult, curated by Current Obsession at the Stedelijk Museum Hertogenbosch, (2016-2017); Kōrero Mai Kōrero Atu at Auckland Museum, Auckland (2016); ARCHIVES Te Wahi Pounamu, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Dunedin (2015-16); Whakapaipai, Objectspace, Auckland and Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt (2015); Geography, Art Jewelry Forum, Seattle and SOFA Chicago, USA (2011); Waka Huia at HBMG, Napier (2008); Wahine Kino, City Gallery, Wellington, and Takapau Will Travel in Turbulance the 3rd Auckland Triennial, Auckland (2007); Mo Tatou Ngāi Tahu Whanui Exhibition, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington (2006); Taiawhio: Continuity and Change, Te Papa Tongarewa, Wellington (2002); Purangiaho Seeing Clearly, Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland (2001). Wilkinson’s work is held in major collections throughout Aotearoa and world-wide including Toi o Tāmaki Auckland Art Gallery, Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum, Cambridge University Museum of Archeology and Anthropology, UK, Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Dowse Art Museum, Lower Hutt, Otago Museum, Dunedin, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Wellington and Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, UK.