Kāhui Maunga, Kāhui Atua, Taranaki Iwi, Parihaka
“Ko taku poi te manu” 2019.
Woollen blanket, ribbon, embroidery silks
The concept of my Poi-manu artworks is based on the ancient ceremonial tradition of poi distinct to the tribes of the Taranaki and Whanganui regions. In this tradition, the poi is a tool for ritual keeping the timing in the recitation of karakia and whakapapa, referred to as poi-manu in my kāinga of Parihaka. The symbols embroidered onto these poi-manu are derived from the oratorical imagery of Parihaka verse and chant. The use of blanket as the medium is a political statement speaking to the taking of our whenua and the loss of Maori autonomy. The blanket is a metaphor for the land, but also a reference to New Zealand’s economic wealth built on the back of colonial land confiscation and systematic dispossession.
As a medium, fiber is a conduit for energy and a holder of memory in much the same way that our hair is. I enjoy the process of capturing and shaping this element, whether I’m working with fiber in the form of metals, harakeke, kareao, woollen blanket or other fabric materials.
Ultimately our tūpuna inspire my creative expression, through their timeless examples of resilience through continuously evolving, so that our ways of being and knowing have meaning and purpose to who and where we are now.
The Art – what does this means to the Artist
First and foremost I believe that it’s the distinction of whakapapa Māori expressing itself through any chosen artform. It’s my intention as a Maori artist that my art be an autonomous medium for reclaiming and self-defining indigenous voice and space.
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