Shona Rapira-Davies

Nana he horihori katoa, he wahi hoki te hau

Nana he horihori katoa, he wahi hoki te hau by Shona Rapira-Davies

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‘Nā, he whakahīhī te katoa, he whai koretake i te hau.’ Ko te taitara he tīpakonga mai i te wāhanga tuatahi o Ecclesiastes i te Kawenata Tawhito, ā, ko te peita a Shona Rapira Davies he toi puku whaiaro, he mea rerehua ā-toikupu, ā-ataata, he mea herekore e whakatoko ai i te wairua, i te hītori, i te makaurangi o te koroniaratanga. Ka whakamāoritia te rongopai o te Kawenata Tawhito i te tau 1858; ka mauria, ka urutaua e te pono Hauhau, koia tētahi pono i kaha ātete i te pēhitanga i te iwi Māori e ngā hōia a te Karauna.

Kei muri ko te kikorangi auaha kore, kei mua ko ngā hydrangea mā, mariko, e teretere ana, e topatopa ana, i te hau. He ōrite ki te taputapu karikiōrangi – he momo tā-whakaahua i whakamahia ai i te wā koroniara – ka tāngia ngā mea nā te huranga i raro i te aho kitakita. Ko te toi a te ringa toi he tauākī tōrangapū e huna ai i ngā riwhariwha o te koroniaratanga i tana whakamahi i te āhuatanga whakatarapī, whakatumeke, o te māra hydrangea, hei whakarite i te auē ki te ngarotanga o te ahurea.

‘Behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind.’ Titled after gospel in the first chapter of the Ecclesiastes in the Māori Old Testament, Shona Rapira Davies’ deeply personal, poetically and visually beautiful painting is an evocative and free-floating exploration of spirituality, history and the imprint of colonialism. Translated into te reo Māori (the Māori language) in 1858, the gospel of the Old Testament was adopted and adapted by the Hauhau faith, a sect that fervently resisted the Crown’s military oppression of Māori.

Floating against the amorphous expanse of blue, ghostly white hydrangea flowers seem to flicker and hover in the wind. They resemble a cyanotype, an early type of colonial photographic image-making in which objects are imprinted through exposure to intense light. The artist’s work is a political statement that conceals the scars of colonisation by using the delicate and disarming nature of a hydrangea garden as a metaphor for cultural loss and longing.

Title
Nana he horihori katoa, he wahi hoki te hau
Artist/creator
Production date
2013
Medium
oil on canvas
Dimensions
1390 x 1390 x 45 mm
Credit line
collection of The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, purchased 2013
Accession no
X2020/93/8
Copyright
Copyright restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
On display

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