Shane Cotton

Eden to Ohaeawai

Eden to Ohaeawai by Shane Cotton

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Kei te kōmitimiti ngā apa o te hītori, te wāhi me te whakapono i roto i a Eden to Ohaeawai, 1998–2000. Hangaia ai kia rīpeka te āhua, kia ōrite hoki ki te kāpehu whakatere, kei te arahina ngā karu e ngā kupu me ngā tohu huri noa i te wā mānu me te wāhi. Kei te taha mauī kei te whai a Cotton i te whakapapa o tōna iwi a Ngāpuhi, tae rawa atu ki a Toi – he whakapapa e haere tonu ana i te whakatere o te kānawehi ki a Ngāti Rangi. Ko Ōhaeawai te pae o te riri o Te Pakanga Nui o te Raki i ngā tau o 1840; i whakangungua taua wāhi i raro i te maru o te tohunga a Papahurihia, he tohunga rongonui, ko ia tētahi o ngā tohunga ki te tukutuku i ngā karakia o Ngāpuhi ki waenganui i ngā tuhinga o te paipera, hei wāhanga nui o te Rōpū Tuauriuri o ngā tau 1830.

Kei te pokapū o te toi a Kenehi, a Zion, a Arama, a Iwi, a Mohi e whakamahere ana i te aho tapu e heke mai ana i ‘He Mea Hanga Mā Te Atua’. Kei te whakarite a Shane Cotton kia takoto whakarara ngā whakapapa o Ngāpuhi me Ngāti Rangi, kia pūtahi i te tirohanga whānui ki te pokapū hei whakamahere i te whanaungatanga o ēnei whakapapa, ēnei pono e tārai ana i te māramatanga e pā ana ki te whenua. Kua peitahia te mā ki runga i te pango, ka puta mai ngā kupu me ngā auaha hei Te Ao Mārama i Te Pō, e whakamahere ana i ngā whetū orokohanga me te hanganga e tākai ai i te taiao.

History, place and faith layer and merge in Eden to Ohaeawai, 1998–2000. Arranged in a cruciform shape also resembling a navigational compass, words and symbols lead our eyes on a journey through floating time and space. To the left Cotton traces the whakapapa (genealogy) of his iwi (tribe) Ngāpuhi back to Toi, a lineage that continues along the bottom of the canvas to Ngāti Rangi. A site of fierce battle in The Northern War of the 1840s, Ohaeawai was defended under the spiritual counsel of Papahurihia, a renowned Ngāpuhi tohunga (Māori priest) who was one of the first Māori prophets to interweave Ngāpuhi ritual with biblical scriptures as part of the Blackout Movement of the 1830s.

Here, ‘Kenehi’ (Genesis), ‘Zion’, ‘Arama, Iwi, Mohi’ (Adam, Eve and Moses) course down the centre of the composition, charting a aho tapu (sacred genealogical lineage) descending from ‘He Mea Hanga Ma Te Atua’ (things created by god). Running parallel to the whakapapa of Ngāpuhi and Ngāti Rangi and intersecting the landscape in the middle, Shane Cotton plots the interrelationship of these genealogies, faiths and their shaping of understandings of the land. Painted white on black, the words and forms emerge as Te Ao Mārama (the world of light and life) from Te Pō (the perpetual night), charting constellations of origin and creation that enfold the landscape.

Title
Eden to Ohaeawai
Artist/creator
Production date
1998-2000
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
2000 x 3000 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2012
Accession no
2012/16
Other ID
2000-0024-1 Reference number (external institution), X2004/55 Old Accession Number
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
On display

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