5 Aug 2022 — 2 Aug 2023
Shona Rapira Davies: Ko Te Kihikihi Taku Ingoa
Ko Te Kihikihi Taku Ingoa is a memorial to the sacrifice made by the children and people of Parihaka.
Ko Te Kihikihi Taku Ingoa is a major new installation by Shona Rapira Davies (Ngāti Wai ki Aotea, Aotearoa, New Zealand) that responds to histories distinct to Taranaki and to the ‘cathedral-like’ space of the gallery.
A northern iwi narrative where the Whale gives up its life, body and skin, for his brother the Kauri tree, is a metaphor in the work. The narrative about the two brothers - the Whale and the Kauri – in which the Whale originated from land before moving into the sea, is interwoven with iwi histories particular to Taranaki.
These histories include the New Zealand land wars which began in Waitara in March 1860, an armed conflict over land ownership and sovereignty between iwi and the New Zealand Government, and Parihaka: a Māori response to the conflict that saw a papakainga (Māori village) founded on a prophecy of peace, at the base of Mount Taranaki.
Featuring a wood and graphite whale tail, pohutukawa, high tensile wire rocks representative of volcanic pumice and the new growth of a Kauri tree rendered in stainless steel, Ko Te Kihikihi Taku Ingoa speaks to the gesture of the children of Parihaka who were sent out in front of invading soldiers, the extinguishing of iwi land rights through warfare and force, and the ongoing processes of colonisation and industrialisation that cause continuing alienation for iwi from resources and led to environmental damage to local lands and the pollution of the sea.
Ko Te Kihikihi Taku Ingoa is a companion work to Ko Te Kihikihi which was included in the exhibition Swallowing Geography, Nov 2021 - Feb 2022, and connects with a 1987 commission by then Govett- Brewster Art Gallery director Dame Cheryl Sotheran Ma te wahine ka tapu ai to hanga nei, te tangata, ma te whenua kawhai oranga ai / Woman found raped, wrapped in a threadbare cloak.
A leading Māori sculptor and a Senior New Zealand artist, Shona Rapira Davies cites Ralph Hotere and Colin McCahon as artistic influences, alongside her upbringing and relationship with the sea, land and waterways of Aotea, Great Barrier Island, where she is from. Her innovative and wide-ranging practice includes textiles, drawing, sculpture, large scale ceramic works such as Nga Morehu held in the Te Papa Tongarewa collection and large-scale installation and outdoor public sculpture.
Commissioned as a signature art project for the Govett Brewster Art Gallery, Ko Te Kihikihi Taku Ingoa has been created with the support of the Gallery, Govett Brewster Foundation Members and the Pollen Foundation.