Facebook just reminded me about an exhibition I held five years ago at Taylor Jensen Fine Arts in Palmerston North, called “Whakarongo ki to Kuia – Listen to your Grandmother”. And what a pleasant experience as I flicked through the album of images, reminiscing not only about the exhibition itself, but the experiences, influences and inspiration behind it – some very special women who have gone before me, my kuia (Grandmothers).
At the time I wanted to blog about the exhibition…but I didn’t have a blog! So here I am. Sharing it five years later. This exhibition paid homage to four amazing women: Great Nanny Rangipakaru Ameria Kingi (of Maori & English descent), Nana Rata (of a Maori mother & Scottish father), Great Nana Alice (more affectionately known as old old Nana, of British origins) and Great Nana Bubby (a little, but vibrant Irish lady).
“Whakarongo ki te hau, Whakarongo ki te ua, Whakarongo ki te ngahere
Ata Whakarongo ki to Kuia”
“Listen to the Wind, Listen to the Rain, Listen to the Forest
But listen carefully to your Grandmother”
Whakarongo ki to Kuia tells a story. It’s about who I am as a person, and what inspires me. From the green plains of the Manawatu, to the rugged King Country hills, my forebears, and the effect of this rich heritage which runs through my veins.” This exhibition was a result of research into my female ancestry. And what a rich ancestry it is! In this fast paced, digitally enhanced world I felt the urge, even beckoned, to rediscover life as my Grandmother’s had lived. What I found out about them inspired me. Their stories were real. Their lives were simple. Times were tough, and they were tougher!
All completely different women, of different origins – yet their blood runs through my very veins, and in some respects has made me the person I am today. This is a homage to these incredible women who have gone before me, who have influenced me in ways they could never know, and who I live to make proud.
The work in this exhibition is mixed media – predominantly acrylic on canvas, my Hapene (NZ flax), and other props and media that I was drawn to when bringing together this body of work. I especially love the old tea tins, that were reminiscent of Nana Bubby’s dining room with its coal range, tea trolley, and Chinese wall hangings.
|Homage to Great Nanny Rangipakaru Ameria Kingi|
|Homage to old old Nana Alice|
|Remembering Nana Bubby’s bright red lipstick on the edges of the tea cup|
|Hapene and flax flower posy – Nana’s garden|
Thank you to my darling friend Ange for the beautiful photographs. x