The piece included in the Objectspace show, The Way Of Matter is dedicated to my ancestors, to my Grandparents and Great-Grandparents as it is through your stories and actions that I exist. I continue to search for you in the unraveling of stories that have been too long tightly stitched together through silence and have previously prohibited my learning of our whakapapa.
The Beauty Of Invisible Grief derives from a translated experience of dislocation, detachment and recognition of site, space and experiential knowledge embedded in concepts drawn between the ‘cultural artifact’ and identity.
Collected samples of disembodied water were frozen in the form of a traditional hei-tiki which when worn as a body adornment piece, its documentation of loss is recorded by both the wearer and digitally. In the acknowledgment of site and reconnection, the bodies of water included in this piece are collected from three individual rivers I whakapapa back to on both sides of the Hokianga Harbour. The 42-min video portrait documents my experience of its matter and through the loss of its materiality including its pearl and silver riveted eyes, in close proximity to the warmth of my body the process of grief is both activated and lifted mirroring personal social archaeologies and accumulated memories. Digital technologies as a framing device have also allowed for a platform to debate where historical knowledge sets are being stored in developing memory banks altering the relationship between new access points to knowledge, oral lineages and customary behaviours.
The incorporated audio recording of He Aha Te Hau signals the vision of knowing whose land I rent while having been born and grown up in Auckland and descending from other locations simultaneously. Water flows between our land boundaries although our sites remain the same. It is here in Titahi’s chant, that I feel protected in the knowing our ancestors were aware of what was to come. They were prepared for events of cohabitation and what could eventuate out of the distressed state our cultural values would be in when viewed through the narrow perspectives of hegemonic contemporary thought. Through my commitment of learning this knowledge, I am always able to acknowledge the mana that stands on this land that I am a tenant of.
As a work, The Beauty Of Invisible Grief seeks to challenge the perceptions surrounding Institutionally stored taonga and the paradoxical environments of value exchange and access to material information. The notion of ‘heritage’ and ‘identity’ are so often curated in and of these Institutions and in response the development of false economies being to emerge. Do we in essence cut the bloodlines from their source communities when these taonga are stored behind glass vitrines? Are museums masking as 21st century mausoleum for culturally significant and sensitive objects? These tensions also touch on the maker and craft heritage I have studied under in my recently completed Bachelors programme at Unitec Institute of Technology.