Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Turangawaewae ...

"Turangawaewae" or my "Standing Ground" was the name of this, my first body of work completed with the assistance of Sandy Webster at the workshop "Book, Basket and Box - The Placement of Memory." When asked my expectation of the workshop, I requested that I create something that has meaning. That wasn't just a response to materials, but rather something of significance for me. Being the only Polynesian at the workshop with a couple of hundred other women, I quickly felt my difference surface, as one does, when one is the minority. (Struggling to understand this? Then imagine being the only woman at a male conference and you will begin to get it). After the first days discomfort, I returned the following day with the aim to celebrate my difference and indulge my place in the Pacific.

I cannot tell you how much work went into this installation but the black piece with the wooden spiral hair comb took me a week alone to strip back the flax and remove the muka (fine fibre), weave it and dye it. There are lots of 'found' materials and reconstituted things too, like the tapa cloth.

I spent some time in a State fosterhome as a teenager, and the ownership of my belongings became paramount to me. Having my own stuff in my own space was vital. It was all I had that was mine. I am still funny about having things. And placement of things. Being able to create little nooks for my bits and pieces, intentionally building spaces gave me a sense of taking back that time in my life, and recreating my own personal spaces.

My last post was quite strong about my language, identity and place. There is only one answer. I need to go home. Talked to my husband tonight and he is in agreement. It seems a good starting place.

Today the opportunity arose for me to speak with the tutor of the conflicting paper I am doing. It was a good talk and he and another friend let me have the floor and speak my piece. It was validating because they listened and considered what I said. Anyway, I will see how this follows through. The proof is in the pudding.

Tomorrow is one of my two favourite classes. Textiles 2D. Sweet dreams you ...

1 comment:

Robyn said...

"Book, basket and box - The placement of memory"... Thats the type of workshop I would love to do. The box you have made is fascinating. The tapa cloth immediately drew my attention. How wonderful to hear the story behind the box too.Thank you...it adds yet another layer of understanding to the artwork.