Mandy Cherry Joass Puapua Whenua (wreath and shield for the land), 2019
Recycled Luxaflex aluminium venetian blinds 12000 x 11000 x 200 mm approx.
Puapua Whenua (wreath and shield for the land) is an abstract symbolic armor, an offering of healing and protection to the earth. It invites a shift of perspective and behavior towards our environment, developing new healthier patterns, tiny repetitions, which combine to make larger change.
The work evokes the grid of raranga (weaving), the rhythm of a tukutuku panel, the patterning of a tapa cloth, the careful lines of an intricate quilt or the regimented crosses of a tapestry. A sense of shared community often accompanies the making of these kinds of taonga/heirlooms, to be handed down through generations. This sense of community expands and translates to a shared ownership of our moana (oceans) and whenua (land), creating a new community which transcends borders, cultures and generations. It took a loving community, the hands of many friends and family members along with support in the form of a recycling arrangement with Luxaflex New Zealand, to bring together the 22,000 components of ‘Puapua Whenua’.