What images keep you company in the studio?
I am surrounded by art by my friends, mostly women and women of colour! Otherwise I have two works by Robyn Kahukiwa. She is very inspiring and empowering artist and I’ve been looking at her work since I was a little girl. Her work was one of the few places I saw strong Māori women, looking back at me.
What was the first piece of art that really mattered to you?
The first piece I made that really changed me was a painting I did on Hokule’a’s sail from their 1999 voyage to Rapanui (completing the triangle; Hawai’i, Aotearoa, Rapa Nui). Painting on a substrate that carried so much weight and story made me realise that the material was of key importantance to the meaning of your art work. I painted the original star map on this. I studied for days and days learning about celestial navigation and trying to figure out how to relay all this information..with lines. I’m excited to exhibit these for the first time since 2015 at my upcoming solo show at The Dowse Art Museum.
Who is your ideal studio buddy?
Hehe! Well, I live with my boyfriend Te Kuru in a wee house on the East Coast in Turanga. The living room doubles as my studio! Te Kuru is working from home at the moment too, so Te Kuru Dewes must be my ideal studio buddy. He brings me cups of tea sometimes and motivates me to leave the house and go for a walk along the beach.
What music are you listening to?
I don’t really listen to a lot of music, I prefer listening to podcasts or audio books. Right now I’m listening to Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin … and catching up on the Nuku podcasts.
What are you reading?
I am actually dipping into Crafting Aotearoa and learning a tonne about New Zealand history from a makers and object-based perspective. I’ve also got a few books constantly open, The Coming of the Māori is one, and our Māori Dictionary is the other.
We are two weeks into lock-down – recommend something/s to read/watch/listen to?
I recommend starting a Sourdough bug! Grab a jar, add 2 Tablespoons of flour, enough water to mix it, and leave it on your window sill! Now you simply have to feed it and maintain it by adding more flour. It is so much fun making bread from water, flour and salt. I’ve learned so much and there are so many recipes and instructions out there to help you.