Mahi Kara – Fun with Flags, 2017
flax leaves and nails
dimensions variable, activated 10–19 February 2017
Mahi Kara – Fun with Flags is a participatory artwork which doubles as a visual intervention in the Waiheke landscape and as a ‘pop-up’ interactive flag-making activity on the headland walkway.
Te Kara (the Colours) was the Māori name for the first New Zealand flag, also referred to as Kotahitanga (unity). Kara has become a generalised term for ‘flag’ along with haki (Jack). New Zealand flax (harakeke) is a well-known native plant that grows abundantly on Waiheke Island. Some early settlers referred to it as the ‘flag plant” because of its long green blades. Between 10 and 19 February visitors are invited to etch their own designs on flax and carry their personalised ‘flags’ along the headland and take them home.
Other Collaborators: Ngaire McCarthy and her team of volunteers donating and harvesting flax, Jan Robertson
Trailing Tangaroa, 2016
aluminium frame, rubber jandals, metal clips and black electrical ties
3,500 high x 2,000 mm (diameter) variable
Trailing Tangaroa reflects Michel Tuffery concern for the place of Aotearoa New Zealand within the Pacific and it’s connections to and the relationships found through our Moana (sea). Constructed from ‘jandals aka chandals’ the work takes the form of a super sized midden shell. Tuffery found the original shell during his 2016 artist residency on Waiheke Island, originally known as Te Motu Arairoa (the long sheltering island) and recreates the shape as a metaphor for a recording device or witness to human existence in our eco systems. Tuffery continues his characteristic use of popular motifs and everyday materials to point to the continuity and relevance of history in a contemporary context.
Barry’s Catch, 2016
cast aluminium, steel and wood
3 parts each comprising 7 panels, 800 x 420 x 28 mm each
The Mangopare kowhaiwhai/Hammerhead Shark design is a repetitive curvilinear pattern that represents genealogical lines.
Oil collected from sharks livers were mixed with ochre to convey painted patterns upon the Māori art world, from wharenui, hoe paddles and hue gourds to Ta Moko.
Barry’s Catch is a sculptural depiction of the traditional harvesting of sharks by Hauraki tribes during the months of January-February. From several hundreds to several thousands the sharks were caught and dried upon long racks. An 1850 Charles Heaphy painting of the Hauraki Gulf captures such a scene with Rangitoto as the backdrop. My own personal experience stems from a visit in 1996 to local Piritahi marae elder Barry Haupokia’s Onetangi home where Hammerheads were suspended from his tree.
The Tui birds atop the vertical posts reference marae orators recounting genealogical histories. The term “Tui, Tui, Tuia” refers to the joining of lineages. The sculptural aspect of this traditionally painted motif echoes Heaphy’s painting, locating the observer in the historical narrative.
– Paora Toi-Te-Rangiuaia
Things from Geology (Underworld), 2016
concrete, timber, paint, plywood, artificial grass, plants, steel, map and acrylic map holder
10,000 x 15,000 mm (variable)
Things from Geology (Underworld) originates from the predominantly hidden world of geology. The greater part of Waiheke Island comprises material that is around 150-250 million years old, particularly undurated greywacke sandstone and argillite, enormously compressed and fractured by tectonic activity. Things from Geology directs attention to the material world and encourages reflection on the active participation of the forces of vibrant matter in events.
An outcrop of anthropocene rock supports what might be an incomplete viewing platform or perhaps a partial mini-golf course or artificial garden. It acts as a hypothetical site for gaining a geologic view and, in the spirit of providing an informative scientific overview, includes a free ‘pataphysical map’ of Waiheke Island in which the lineaments are emphasised and so locates the sculpture within a wider geologic context.
– Paul Cullen
This project could not have been made without the assistance of Ammon Ngakuru.
waterproof speakers, solar powered preamp, cables and sound recordings
In this gully we hear a conversation. Two musicians–a Bass Viol player and North Indian Classical vocalist–sustain a robust discussion on home ground.
Experts in their own distinct musical fields, these musicians demonstrate how, in order to create something meaningful, they must listen to the other as much as they must sound or voice their own instruments. There are moments where we hear just the Viol, or just the Voice, and moments when the two come together in renewed ways. In doing so, the musicians reveal the subtleties and complexities involved in an exchange–how to listen, respond, how to listen while speaking, how to speak and listen simultaneously.
This musical performance presents an allegory of intercultural understanding, and strives, in the spirit of Edward Said’s thinking, toward a transformation from two unitary identities into identities that include the other without suppressing the differences.
– Olivia Webb
The artist thanks Balamohan Shingade and Robert Oliver for their generous performances.
Reading Zen in the Rocks, 2016
bronze and fibreglass with liquid bronze coating
7 parts, 1,100 x 2,400 x variable mm
Reading Zen in the Rocks merges the myth of the Zen Garden and mid-century modernism, specifically the work of American sculptor Isamu Noguchi. Noguchi’s Lessons of Musokokushi, 1962 a bronze garden of flat bottomed rocks are a source with the handmade Akari paper lampshades that he designed in the 1950s and which have since become an industrially produced domestic product. However, in Reading Zen in the Rocks the garden rocks have been inverted. In contrast to their bronze appearance only the top elements, the flat replica Akari, are cast. Yet the shape alludes to the concentric arcs around rocks in a traditional raked zen sand garden. The counter-intuitive inverting of materials–light-weight and humble in place of weighty and expensive–with the negation of the practical role of the shades suggests Guy’s interest in finding new possibilities in modern art and design for contemporary life.
soil, hessian bags, pallets, chair, signage and map
Activated 28 January–3 February 2017
Digging, shoveling, transporting and selling earth has been a human practice and business for along time. Even the great Māui talks about how his brothers were quick to carve the skin of the great fish into rough and jagged mountains and hillsides. Waiheke Island is woven into the history of this practice as sand and shingle were extracted from its beaches to build many of Auckland’s urban spaces, buildings, and road infrastructure, most notably the Grafton Bridge.
Earthpushers by Jeremy Leatinu’u is a seven day project that invites the public to help transport earth over water from one place to another, in this case from Auckland to Waiheke. The gesture of this action can be seen as a return of earth to the island as well as a time to reflect our own relationship and history with this natural material.
perforated steel, aluminium steel mesh and paint
8,000 x 2,600 x 1,600 mm (variable)
One of my all time favourite New Zealand paintings is Pohutukawa Rina, 1930 by Evelyn Page. Filtered sunlight through pohutukawa leaves falls upon two female nudes creating a pattern that camouflages and blends their bodies with that of the surrounding foreshore. The idea of Mesh is to create an experience of transformation, of patterns of light and shadow. Using perforated sheets of steel and aluminium and a variety of meshes, the sculpture spans a curved section of the walking track, leaving no option but to enter. Once inside, the repetitive punched and cut out holes, layered and singular, create a magical environment of dappled light and, looking outward, moire patterned vistas of the surrounding Matiatia environment. Mesh will hopefully bring a moment of respite from the heat of the day, a shelter of speckled shade not unlike the pohutukawa shadows along the walkway.
– Jeff Thomson
A Corporate Development Memorial Outdoor Public Seating Sculpture, 2016
Eucalyptus saligna, pine and engraved plaque
3,000 x 2,700 x 2,700 mm
A Corporate Development Memorial Outdoor Public Seating Sculpture conflates two contexts to provoke reflection on the recent attempts at commercial development around Matiatia, Waiheke. The sculpture absurdly mimics the main product display from fashion label Balenciaga’s flagship store in Paris. A shop fitting is recast as both a cenotaph-like structure and outdoor seating.
The sculpture operates as a welcome rest stop on the trail; a place to sit and take in the spectacular views to the bay. Yet, given its borrowed interior design proportions it may not make particularly comfortable seating. As a memorial, the work refers to the failed attempts by Waitemata Infrastructure Ltd and Waiheke Marinas Ltd respectively to build a major shopping/hotel complex and large private marina at Matiatia Bay. As well as ignoring the conventions of memorials, A Corporate Development Memorial Outdoor Public Seating Sculpture is also an uneasy allegory for the uncertain future of the island.
Untitled (whakanoa), 2016
Perspex, stainless steel, stone, wood, concrete, steel and plastic water bottles
700 x 550 x 1,500 mm
Untitled (whakanoa) comprises multiple components. Steel Y posts with water bottles attached are located at both ends of the foreshore urupā (burial ground) of Matiatia (Matietie), while a sculpture of water, stone, and timber rests near the pavilion. The work stems from a previous experience Langdon had at Matiatia, “an experience that involved a moment, a moment created by the sharing of knowledge. The revelation of the history of the site resulted in a feeling of a need for action relating to the necessary conduct in the area of urupā. The use of water for Whakanoa (removing tapu) is something I was shown as a kid at our whānau urupā in Raglan.”
Untitled (Whakanoa) invites audiences to wash stone and water over timber and contemplate the important yet unseen histories that are culturally entangled in the site. Langdon hopes that these ritual materials raise new reflections on past narratives of place, and encourage the use of water when leaving the Matiatia urupā out of mutual respect.