Last night I read a post from friend and fellow artist Raymond Sagapolutele as he retold a story about a relative in a taxi and losing a friend to suicide. The story was accompanied by one of his brown paper bag series, painting works. These works are part of a talk I will be attending on Saturday which participants are invited to bring along their version of a paper bag work. I thought about what I might do with a brown paper bag, the idea of painting on it gives me anxiety so I thought about my contribution and version. I am not a painter or one who likes to draw.
An idea was to write HOME on the front and inside would be one of my uku cups that has been glazed with whaingaroa, some homemade almond milk in a jar and these items would be accompanied with one of my 3 metre long brooms. Why?
The idea of writing HOME on the paper bag presents ideas of those that live out of bags, homeless, when I think of my brother Hone. The classic brown paper bag that holds alcohol when one doesn't want you to see that they have alcohol. The brown paper bag replacing the plastic bag. I think of the these objects as domestic objects. The cup, the milk, the broom. All objects that have been made by me. They all function and perform within the household. A women's role. to feed. to clean, to create a home, to hold space in a certain way. A women's duty. Then there is the duty of the wahine. The one that holds, carries whakapapa. This tension or discussion with the domestic everyday woman and the sacred space of wahine. What separates is whakapapa.
A cup that carries whakapapa via moana and whenua, of turangawaewae, connection with tūpuna. Almond milk that is handmade in the home with ideas of lessening food packaging and waste. The 3 metre long broom that has been used by maintenance men to clean gutters then hung in a fine art gallery surrounded by wine and cheese. The use of broom brakes and cleans simultaneously. form over function. As an arrangement these works could talk on the political around land and labour. Of systems that do not serve. Of well-being.
In the weekend I went back home in Raglan to look at some whanau land. On setting foot, I could see me living here. An art studio in the bush with little epods that are used for residencies and income. A house with views of the moana and rooted on the whenua of my ancestors. This urge to go home gets stronger every time I go back home. My uncle sent me the below post alluding to why I feel this way.
E hoki koe ki ō maunga kia purea e koe e ngā hau o Tāwhirimatea
Return to your ancestral mountains to be cleansed by the winds of Tāwhirimatea
If you ever wonder why your Māori friends, colleagues, parent, husband:wife:partner or child feels the need to go home (or they don’t feel settled where they are)... this whakataukī may help to explain it: “E hoki koe ki ō maunga kia purea koe e ngā hau a Tāwhirimātea”. ************************************ It’s a form of self care; for our mental wellbeing and a way for us to find purpose:meaning:identity. When we live and work in a foreign place:system, its even more important to return home as often as possible. Imagine how hard it is for our people who don’t know where they come from OR don’t feel that they belong because they have little knowledge of their whakapapa. And now, because of colonisation and a lack of identity, they become alienated in Te Ao Pākehā and Te Ao Māori. ************************************ “This whakataukī recognises the value of returning to your roots to recharge, re-energise, and be reminded of what's important in life. It might also be used to remind someone who is overwhelmed by work, forgetting their priorities or in a rut of some type, to return to the places that nurtured them to find inspiration￼￼.” Source: Te Wānanga o Raukawa