Areta Wilkinson

Hei Ata Āhua

Hei Ata Āhua by Areta Wilkinson

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Ko tā Areta Wilkinson toi he whakatōpū i ngā whakapīwari, i ngā toi whakanikoniko o nāianei, o te ao Māori o mua. Ko tēnei hei tiki koura he toi e whakataurite ai i te hei tiki i kōhia ai e Johann Reinhold Forster, e George Forster hoki/rānei i runga i te hekenga tuarua a Kāpene Kuki mā runga i te Resolution i te tau 1773, i tōna haerenga ki Tōtaranui. Nō te kāinga te koura i oti ai tēnei toi, i runga i te wawata o te ringa toi ki te whakamahi i ngā rawa nō tōna whenua, arā, he hononga tērā ki ngā kōrero a tōna iwi, a Kāi Tahu.

E ai ki te ringa toi, me mau i tētahi tangata tēnei toi, hei pupuri i te tikanga me te whakapono a te Māori he mauri tō tēnā mea, tō tēnā mea. I karangahia e Wilkinson ngā hunga mahi o te Whare Whakairi Taonga me te rōpū Haerewa, ki te tapa i tēnei mahi toi. I tapaina e rātou ko Hei Ata Āhua. Ka whakatakotohia ngā kupu ko tētahi ki te taha o tētahi, ka huri ki te ‘ataahua’. Ki te kore e kitea taua toi i konei, ko te tikanga kei te mauria e tētahi tangata kei tēnei Whare Whakairi Taonga. Nā te toi a Wilkinson e pā ana ki te mauri o ngā mea i tute te huarahi e whāia ai e ngā whakahaere mahi toi hei kimi māramatanga, hei pāhekoheko ki ngā kohinga mea.

Areta Wilkinson’s art practice combines jewellery, applied arts and customary Māori adornment making. This gold hei tiki pendant is inspired by a hei tiki collected by Johann Reinhold Forster and/or George Forster during Captain Cook’s second voyage onboard the Resolution in 1773, when it visited Tōtaranui/Queen Charlotte Sound. Its gold was locally sourced, consonant with the artist’s desire to incorporate materials connected to the land and to her Kāi Tahu tribal histories.

The artist has specified that this work must be worn from time to time, in keeping with the Māori practice of acknowledging the mauri (life essence) found in all objects. Wilkinson invited the Gallery’s staff and Māori advisory group Haerewa to name the work. Hei Ata Āhua was chosen, with ‘ata’ meaning shadow and ‘āhua’ meaning semblance or form. When both words are run together it creates the word ‘ataahua’ meaning the beautiful form. If the work is not on display here, it is probably being worn by someone here in the Gallery. Wilkinson’s work relating to the life of objects has initiated a paradigm shift in how art institutions might understand and engage with collection objects.

Title
Hei Ata Āhua
Artist/creator
Production date
2018
Medium
24ct Ōtakau and Te Tai Poutini gold, fine silver
Dimensions
95 x 60 x 9 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, commissioned 2017
Accession no
2017/19/1
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
On display

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