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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.
- Nana he horihori katoa, he wahi hoki te hau
- Production date
- oil on canvas
- 1390 x 1390 x 45 mm
- Credit line
- collection of The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, purchased 2013
- Accession no
- Copyright restrictions apply
- New Zealand Art
- Display status
- On display
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