Matariki 2013: Whetu, Whenu, Whenua

An exhibition acknowledging the threads that connect us as a community, the community to the land, and the traditional to the contemporary.  It is a celebration of the art of mahi raranga (weaving activities), whatu (fibre weaving) and tukutuku (wall panel lattice work) brought together by Nic Moon’s woven Resolution – A Blanket for Richard Henry, Jaqueline Elley’s Muka Lightbox, 2013 National Contemporary Art Award finalist Annabelle Buick’s Whakairo panel, and a site specific window installation by Maureen Lander will grow brighter throughout the Matariki period. 

Lander’s Star Weaver will reach out into the community through ‘star-making’ public workshops during Matariki with the stars made being added to the installation and finally link to an even wider community by joining the One Million Stars to End Violence art project led by Samoan-born weaving artist Maryann Talia Pau. This Melbourne-based project aims to weave communities of courage to end violence.

Performance artist Cora-Allan Wickliffe will open the exhibition on 21 June. In response to the shift of the stars in the Matariki constellation the performance engages with ideas of experience and renewal during this important time in Maori tradition. With the use of vocals and subtle sounds of movement the performance reiterates the presence and the way protocols of culture engage with foreign spaces.

In the past Maori lived within a subsistence economy where much of the labour was organised in a collective manner, communities had to work well together in order to succeed. Mahi raranga was a daily practice that contributed to the wellbeing of Maori society.  It is said that weaving is a symbol of the way in which the most fundamental life forms knit together, evolve and grow.

“Weaving is more than just a product of manual skills. From a simple rourou (food basket) to the prestigious kahu kiwi (kiwi feather cloak), weaving is endowed with the very essence of the spiritual values of Maori people. The ancient Polynesian belief is that the artist is a vehicle through whom the gods create. Art is sacred and inter-related with the concepts of mauri, mana and tapu.

Maori weaving is full of symbolism and hidden meanings, embodied with the spiritual values and beliefs of the Maori people. The complexity of modern living has meant we have also grown away from nature and understanding its deeper meaning.”

 – Maori Weaving by Erenora Puketapu Hetet.

Image: Annabelle Buick: Toru (detail). ‘Whakairo’ series (2013).

21 June - 04 August 2013

Find the exhibition catalogue here.