PORTRAIT OF A HUIA BIRD
Opening: June 24 5:30 pm
Viewing: June 24 until July 4
Like jewels plucked from a royal crown, huia feathers were given as tokens of friendship and respect. These works collectively create a stillness to contemplate the future.
NO ONE COULD have realised the implications of presenting the elegant black-and-white feather to the Duke of York, then heir to the British throne, during his visit to Aotearoa in 1901.
Not the high-ranking Māori woman who took the quill from her own hair and placed it in the Duke’s hatband; if she had, she would have chosen a different taonga that day. The Duke who wore it inadvertently set up a chain of events that sealed the extinction of New Zealand’s most majestic forest bird, the huia.
Of all Tane’s children, the huia was the most sacred to Māori. In pre-European times, only chiefs of high rank and their whānau wore the distinguished tail feathers in their hair.
Like jewels plucked from a royal crown, huia feathers were given as tokens of friendship and respect. In a culture without money, tribes occupying the huia country of the North Island sent the feathers as gifts, or traded them with others.
In this series of work I have used the beautiful huia bird as a metaphor, representing our colonialist past where I ask the question-What could happen if lessons are not learnt from our past?
The titles have been the starting point for many of the works helping add to the dialogue. They collectively create a stillness in which to contemplate the future.
Space Studio & Gallery- 18 Saint Hill Street