Janine Williams

Janine Williams, Black Picket Fence, 2022

Wood, 4800mm2.

As the work creates a movement with the wind and the site, it reflects the dance of our consumed traces repeating in nature. Echoing the drift of micro-plastics carried in the elements a dance of dire consequence for ocean habitats and marine species. By hoisting large colour sheets to the wind, soft plastic compositions flutter on lines that lean and tilt

It is easy to visit Waiheke with a mind to relax and enjoy the many leisures that the island offers – among them this sculpture festival.

With her work Black Picket Fence, artist Janine Williams, of Ngāti Pāoa descent, invites willing viewers into a reappraisal of the land as ancestral whenua and into a conversation around land ownership privatisation and dispossession and the lasting effects of these things on local iwi.

The form of the picket bears several layers of meaning, as a symbol of the quarter-acre dream with its footing in Crown thefts, and as a marker of the exclusion felt by many of those who whakapapa to the island when accessing their ancestral lands, now sub-divided and fenced-off.

It might also recall the use of the picket within activist efforts of past and present. Williams describes the work a homage to the people who work to protect the land from private interests, carved cross-shaped stars onto the posts in the manner of purapurawhetū tukutuku patterning as a gesture to the many descendants of Pāoa and an affirmation of their right to occupy these lands.

JANINE WILLIAMS (Ngāti Pāoa, Ngāti Whātua ki Kaipara)

Lives and works in Auckland

Janine Williams grew up in South Auckland, where she still lives with her partner and collaborator, Charles Williams, and their four children. Together they form an urban design and street art collective, specialising in large-scale murals that reflect upon the stories of local people – in particular, mana whenua, flora, and fauna to enliven public space.

Williams counts herself among Aotearoa’s first female street artists and has completed commissions in cities around Aotearoa and the Pacific and the US, Europe, and the Middle East. Her work has also been featured in several exhibitions, including recently ‘The Most Dedicated: An Aotearoa Graffiti Story’ at The Dowse Art Museum (2021) and ‘Life After Death’ with Benjamin Work at Franklin Art Gallery (2021).

charlesjaninewilliams.com  @janine_divatmd