Oceans. Collections. Reflections.

George Nuku

23 June 2022 to 31 January 2023
The Weltmuseum Wien presents the first comprehensive exhibition of the Māori artist George Nuku in 2022. His artworks will be presented in three locations: the special exhibition galleries and the Hall of Columns of Weltmuseum Wien as well as at the Theseus Temple in Volksgarten where he will showcase his project "Bottled Ocean 2122" to the public free of charge.


Find out everything you need to know about your visit.

About the exhibition

About the exhibition

This installation project spans nine different spaces within the Weltmuseum Wien, beginning in the Hall of Columns and taking the viewer on a journey through several exhibition galleries.  Nuku brings together collections from Vienna’s Natural History Museum and the Weltmuseum Wien. These are linked and melded with Nuku’s own creations, hand carved from Plexiglass and Polystyrene. The result is a journey through time and space. Each room presents its own theme, a world unto itself, yet each is intimately linked to the preceding and subsequent spaces. Nuku’s ideas and works express the inseparability of both nature and culture.

The exhibition project not only speaks about its place within the museum, but it is about the museum itself – both the Weltmuseum Wien and institutions in general. Themes and topics such as relationships between museums and “source communities”, of repatriation, de-colonization, resolution between parties, and ultimately, pathways forward are being addressed. The project presented here in Vienna can be seen as the culmination of Nuku’s career in progress – spanning more than 120 major projects globally – and of a continuing desire to share his accumulated wealth of experience with all audiences both fully and equally. 

Daily except Wednesday
10 am to 6 pm

10 am to 9 pm

Weltmuseum Wien

1010 Vienna, Austria

Get involved!

Get involved

George Nuku follows a participatory approach in his working method and works together with volunteers on the creation of his artistic positions for the exhibitions at the Weltmuseum Wien and Theseustempel.
For this purpose, we are looking for volunteers who would like to work together with the artist on the objects of the exhibition in the period from 21 March 2022 until the exhibition opening on 23 June 2022.
Specifically, we are looking for people who are interested in craftsmanship or who have already gained some experience in this field of activity. George Nuku's works involve cutting, gluing, carving and painting. The materials used are plexiglass or polystyrene.
The participatory activity is on a voluntary basis. Interested parties can register via felixeliah.abrudan@khm.at. Work takes place from Mon, Wed, Thu and Fri from 10 am to 6 pm as well as Tue from 1 pm to 9 pm. As a volunteer, you are free to choose the times at which you would like to get involved.



Do you still have unanswered questions? Find the answers to frequently asked questions here. For further clarification, contact Felix Abrudan at felixeliah.abrudan@khm.at .


Do I need any craft or artistic training to participate?

No. A certain level of skill and confidence with tools is perfectly adequate as we will train you in all the techniques that will be used.


Can I drop in spontaneously?

Registration beforehand is requested, but in exceptional cases you can also drop in spontaneously.


Can I bring friends at short notice?

Yes, very much so. Everyone is welcome! But please try to register via email beforehand.


Can I also bring children?

It is possible, but children under 14 must be under the supervision of a parent or guardian at all times and may only take part in the work together with an adult.


What do I need to bring to work?

Please wear clothes that can get dirty or a work apron to protect clothes from dirt and stains.


Do I have to bring my own tools?

No, please do not bring your own utensils. All working tools will be provided by the museum.


May I take photographs during the work?

Yes, with the exception of views of finished exhibition spaces. We don't want to spoil future visitors' anticipation of the exhibition.

If you share pictures on Facebook or Instagram, we would be happy if you link our account @weltmuseumwien and use the following hashtags: #OceansCollectionsReflections #GeorgeNuku


My English is not so good. How will I communicate with George Nuku?

Don't worry, our volunteer supervisor Felix will be happy to translate.


Do I get a time confirmation for university?

Yes, we are happy to issue a time confirmation. We ask that you let us know in advance if a confirmation is needed.


How often should I come?

As often as you like. We are happy for volunteers to come more often.


I can no longer come, or have to cancel at short notice, what should I do?

If you have to cancel at short notice, please send Felix Abrudan a text message via +43 664 605 14 5139 or call him.


I cannot plan my time availability well in advance. How can I still participate?

We are happy to reschedule your volunteering every week, from one week to the next.


It's my first day as a volunteer, where should I go?

Just come to the main entrance of the Weltmuseum Wien at Heldenplatz and report to the museum ticket desk in the entrance area of the museum.


Behind the scenes

Bottled Ocean 2122 at Theseus tempel

Bottled Ocean 2122

at Theseus Temple from 22 June to 9 October 2022

George Nuku brings to the Theseus Temple, the latest rendition of his Bottled Ocean concept. As the title suggests, it is an idea set 100 years in the future. A vision of ocean life fully mutated due to the proliferation of plastics affecting the marine world. The setting inside the Theseus temple, is a submarine sunken temple. The walls lined with carved depictions of divinities representing Water, Air, Earth, Fire, Wind, and Sea interspersed with Ocean guardians. In the underwater temple swim plastic mutated versions of rays, sharks, pelagic fish, and jellyfish among plastic coral reef formations. The empty plastic bottles, transformed into lifeforms of toxic beauty, cause the viewer to be enchanted and disturbed by Nuku’s presentation of pollution as an artistic and cultural treasure. The underlying message conveyed is one of change: changing our relationship with this material we have created that now permeates every part of our world. 

Opening hours

Theseus Temple

Open daily from 11 am to 6 pm

About the artist

About the artist

George Nuku (b. 1964) is an artist from Aotearoa/New Zealand, he is of Māori, Scottish and German descent. His works range from delicate amulets hand carved from pearl shell, jade, bone, and plastic through to life-sized stone and Plexiglas sculptures and multi-storied installations in polystyrene of Māori demi-gods and Polynesian culture heroes. He carries a 1,000-year art tradition handed down from his forebears, that promises to expand life and enhance survival.  

His 35-year career spans museums, art institutions, cultural centres, galleries, festivals, traditional Māori cultural settings, and private commissions. His work is collected by both wealthy and poor alike. 



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