Robyn Kahukiwa

Te Whenua, Te Whenua, Engari Kaore He Turangawaewae (Placenta, Land, but Nowhere to Stand)

Te Whenua, Te Whenua, Engari Kaore He Turangawaewae (Placenta, Land, but Nowhere to Stand) by Robyn Kahukiwa

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Born in New Zealand, Robyn Kahukiwa grew up in Australia and moved back to Wellington in 1959. She began painting at home while caring for her two small children, and her art remains a journey of discovery - a means to awaken her Mäori heritage. Her major series of paintings of Mäori women atua, or goddesses, Wahine Toa: Women in Mäori Myth, appeared in 1980. Robyn Kahukiwa's images celebrate the strength and vitality of Mäori culture and art, while lamenting the results of urban dislocation and lost connections with the cultural traditions which offer nurture and support. Her pou images represent ancestors no longer confined to the walls of traditional houses; they leap out from large canvasses with messages that point directly to her social and political concerns. This painting speaks of the Mäori practice of burying the placenta from each newborn in a place which becomes their türangawaewae - a place to stand for ever. For many years, however, in hospitals managed by Europeans, placentas were burnt and Mäori mothers forbidden to carry out their traditional custom. The word whenua means both land and placenta and Te Whenua Te Whenua Engari Käore He Türangawaewae is a powerful comment on the significance of returning placenta to ancestral land and identity. (from The Guide, 2001)

Title
Te Whenua, Te Whenua, Engari Kaore He Turangawaewae (Placenta, Land, but Nowhere to Stand)
Artist/creator
Production date
1987
Medium
alkyd and oil on canvas
Size (h x w)
2085 x 2960 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1988
Accession no
1988/32
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
On display

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