• Chantel Matthews

I am your past in present 'mana' (form)

Updated: May 6

Listening to ancient sounds to drown out the mundane, I picked up this dark brown pod leaf. 8km I carried it in sweaty hands. Pairs appear. Couples and ducks, so I collected more as they wished. "We are the past in present form" - Horomona Horo. Of course, you are, just like me.

An idea came to mind, replicating nature in ceramics, just as delicate and extending beyond its life cycle. At its most fragile, at its end or beginning. Can I hold on to their past? I could see myself in these pieces, holding on to life, existing, being, waiting, as every moment goes by, I cross between the past and present. Then I remember works by Jose Davila, huge leaning glass hanging, held up by weight, and I thought about the shadow, scale, and in contrast to these works of nature. Imaging this sculpturally excites me as I think about these forms, about the feminine and masculine elements, pairs, balance then I look at life, the story I want to tell of life while others live it, I write and make about it. When I consider the making of these from a Te Ao Maori perspective, I think of the materials. Glass is made from sand, Ceramic from Clay. All elements from Papatuanuku. Earth elements. If the Glass is tinted, say a hint blue it could be Tangaroa, the god of the sea or the shadows of Ranginui as he looks down on his beloved. My goal has been to bring these elements together in a horizon line. The concept of a vast Glass leaning over the vase talks of vulnerability, of society, politics, life. The glass panel looking like it's about to fall and smash the vase figure is something we consider life, a death every day. As a mother, my biggest fear is anything happening to my son's, it is like watching my heart walk outside of me every day. I dream of death all the time because it is my biggest fear. My other concern, leaving this place without fulfilling any personal purpose, disappearing without a trace would be a shame. And not just leaving a legacy as my kids will do that, but leaving a legacy for the vessel, I filled. The vase I filled. Could my research be "I am your past in present form"? Art in retrospect



Conversations with Harriet.

Image 2: Harriet playing with Toilet Paper, Water, PVA Glue

Image 3: “Phoebe Cummings.”Fold, www.foldgallery.com/artist/phoebe-cummings/.


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