Shane Cotton

Te Puawai

Te Puawai by Shane Cotton
Te Puawai by Shane Cotton
Te Puawai by Shane Cotton

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Ko te ūnga ko te Mackelvie Gallery, ko tā Shane Cotton Te Puawai, 2020 he whakapōrearea, he pāhekoheko i te hoahoanga ā-kiko, ā-tohu hoki o te whare nei, he kōrerorero mō te whakatere waka, mō te whakawhiti i te mātauranga ahurea, mō te tukunga iho o te koroniaratanga. Ko ngā toi he waka hei kawe i ngā ariā, ahakoa he peita mō te poti, ahakoa he ata toka Tatimana nō te rautau 17 kua peitahia e J Bourjinon, he waka kawe tikanga e tāraia ai e ngā tirohanga motuhake, e ngā tauira ā-ahurea. Ko tā te poti he tohu mō te whakatere, mō te haerenga, arā ko te taenga mai, ko te wehenga atu. Ko te mahi a te waka hei kipakipa i te kōrero mō ngā hitori ā-ahurea a te Māori me te Pākehā hei pūtahi kākano rua i te rangatiratanga o Aotearoa he kaupapa auau i roto i te toi a Shane Cotton.

Ahakoa kei te hemahema, ehara te Te Puawai i te mahi toi noa iho; he taonga kē ki te whānau; he taonga i hangaia ai e te hungarei o te ringa toi. He nui ngā tohutoro ki ngā hāereerenga i tārai ai i tēnei whenua. Ko te kōwhaiwhai e whakarākei ai i te ihuwaka, he ōrite ki te puhoro kōwhaiwhai e whakarākei ai i ngā waka, ā, ko te āhua o te poti me āna hoe e rua he tohu mō ngā hitori whakatere moana a te Pākehā. Ko tā te Te Puawai e noho taupua nei ki te wāhi o te whare whakairi toi, he wāhi e whakaatu nei i te pānga o te hitori o Ūropi i Aotearoa nei, he whakaatu i te huaranga me te pāhekoheko o ngā mātauranga ā-ahurea i tārai ai i ngā tukunga iho o te motu e karapotihia ai e te moana.

Berthed in the historic Mackelvie Gallery, Shane Cotton’s Te Puawai, 2020 disrupts and engages with the gallery’s physical and symbolic architecture, entering into kōrerorero (discussion) about voyaging, the transmittance of cultural knowledge and the legacy of colonialism. Artworks are the vessels for ideas, whether this be a painted dinghy boat or a 17th-century Dutch still-life painting by J Bourjinon, they carry meaning, informed by specific worldviews and cultural paradigms. The boat is a signifier of navigation, of journeying, of arrival and departure. The role of vessels in discussing Māori and Pākehā (European New Zealander) cultural histories as bicultural intersections in Aotearoa New Zealand nationhood has been a consistent investigation in the art of Shane Cotton.

Although empty, Te Puawai is not just an artwork, it is a cherished family item made by the artist’s father-in-law. It is laden with references to the journeying that shaped this country. The painted pattern adorning the prow mimics the puhoro kōwhaiwhai that adored waka (canoes), while the boat’s dinghy shape and its two oars speak to European seafaring histories. Temporarily moored here and manifesting the continued presence and influence of European history in Aotearoa New Zealand, Te Puawai draws attention to the transplantation and interaction of cultural knowledges that have shaped the ongoing legacies of a land surrounded by sea.

Title
Te Puawai
Artist/creator
Production date
2020
Medium
acrylic on tanalised pine, mahogany plywood, copper nails and roves
Dimensions
420 x 1400 x 2360 mm
Credit line
Courtesy of the Artist and Michael Lett
Accession no
X2020/89.1-3
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
On display

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