Tihei Mauri Ora: A Conversation in Paint

Wardrop, Rebekah
Robertson, Natalie
Joseph, Frances
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Master of Arts (Visual)
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Auckland University of Technology

This project engages with a new construct that recognises the concerns of indigenous shared knowledge’s which not only privileges the mahi (work) produced, but shares the site alongside a dominant culture of reading, which has historically denied the autonomous voice of many indigenous peoples. It explores aspects of fixity, materiality, visual memory and a social/psyche of spiritual identity through a Maori epistemology in of Mauri.

My project seeks to initiate a dialogue within the site of whakatokia (spiritual home) from which the mahi starts and embraces the constructs of the wharenui, (physical imagery and the significance of the Poupou (wall supports within the wharenui, the meeting house or large house on the marae) that hold up the rafters (heke) and the whakapapa (genealogy) that accompanies them. The poupou and their significance will be discussed in this exegesis through Conversation 2, 2.3 and an exploration of Visual interstices in Architecture concerning the Whare Nui.

This project uses a painting practice to explore traditional painting (kokowai) techniques, Kaupapa Maori methodology and philosophical concerns through a series of conversations as well as moments of discovery within the project. This is relevant within a Kaupapa research methodology in which the incorporation of storytelling and myth are legitimate avenues of inquiry and place the projects contextual frame.

Locating the work through korero (talking) is also significant in positioning my painting practice. The terms of definition and reference are from a predominantly Maori worldview. This ‘waka’ will embark on a voyage of reclamation/restoration. I acknowledge the support of my ancestors and a number of voices that speak to the issues I wish to address in this paper.

Art , Mahi toi , 21st century , Māori
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