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Placemaking

Exhibition Name

BFA (Hons) Final

Location

Elam School of Fine Arts

Auckland

New Zealand

Year

2019

Haere mai, nau mai. Haere mai, kuhu noa mai ki ngā hūhā o Ruawehea 


The body of work and research presented explores Māori and Samoan concepts surrounding the idea of Tūrangawaewae (a place to stand). These include concepts of place, space, belonging, relationships, non-human others, vā/wā, narrative, kaupapa and personal experience.

 

Through observation, memory, and conversations with human and non-human others, these ideas moved through mediums such as photography and drawing throughout the research process. A sculptural practice was then developed using hard materials, including metals and concrete, to convey the hihiri (felt energy) and mauri (life force) of the places and stories being represented.

Thinking about ideas of representation, collections and displays in regards to cultural objects, concrete tiles are carved with images of place and presented in a way which is reflective of artefact and stone displays within the museum context. 

 

Drawing on the idea of pou as carved living bodies/beings, and mauri stones acting as an anchor/source of spirit and reverberation,  concrete blocks are sculpted with images of place in an attempt to instill the blocks with the mauri of the places depicted.

Through the anonymity of the places, they become one within the stone, collapsing physical separations and merging into a singular body. 

The chain of rings are stamped with the words of a story told by the artist's nana, Va'asa Williams, with each ring sized according to her ring finger. In this story, she talks about Paradise Beach in Lefaga, from where she originates. She talks about her father and his role as translator and Samoan narrator on the set of the film, 'Return to Paradise’, that gave the beach its name, as well as her background and title within Lefaga.

This work is based on ideas of continuation, talalasi (multiple stories/perspectives), cycles, bonds, and the importance of memory and personal narrative within Pacific story-telling.

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