Ana Iti is interested in the remnants of history – what is visible, tangible and readable. Her sculpture project responds to the Gallery’s adjacency to Albert Park, with its monuments and treescape, and what is now lost from view.
Albert Park has a layered and complex history in Tāmaki Makaurau/Auckland, once known as the Albert Barracks and formerly the site of Te Horotiu Pā. Iti draws on a remaining fragment of this history – a segment of wall located about 300 metres east of the Gallery on the university grounds. The wall, which once surrounded the barracks, was commissioned by Governor Grey in 1846 to protect the then capital city from invasion during the Northern War (1845–46). Iti notes that the wall was built primarily by Māori labourers, and a New Zealand Herald article from 1873, just prior the demolition of the bulk of the wall, reported that ‘over the front gate there is an inscription in the Maori language’.
Since antiquity, plaster has been used to replicate artworks, in particular sculpture in the round and reliefs. A mould (negative) is taken from the object (positive). Here Iti, utilises this process, making casts or ‘skins’ of the wall and represents the last of this historic structure in dismembered parts. In contrast to the monuments in the neighbouring park she creates a light, floating set of impressions of the wall’s exterior.
The word takoto in the title, meaning ‘to lay down’, has two possible interpretations in this work – the last breath of the wall or laying forth an agenda to approach this conversation about history. In the adjacent text work Iti reimagines this forgotten phrase as a message from the past to the future.
Kei te aro atu a Ana Iti ki ngā toenga o te hītori – ko ērā e taea ai te kite, te rongo, te pānui. Ko tāna hinonga tārai he urupare ki te pātata o te Toi o Tāmaki ki Albert Park, ki ōna maumaharatanga, ōna rākau, e ngaro nei i te tirohanga kanohi.
He hītori apaapa, he hītori matatini tā Albert Park i Tāmaki Makaurau, ko tōna ingoa o mua ko Albert Barracks, ā, i mua tonu atu ko te Pā o Horotiu. Kei te tohutoro ki te kongakonga whakamutunga o taua hītori e toe tonu ana – he wāhanga o te pakitara e 300 mita whakaterāwhiti o te Whare Toi i runga i te whenua o te whare wānanga. Ko taua pakitara i karapoti ai i te whare hōia, he hanganga i whakahautia ai e Kāwana Kerei i te tau o 1846 hei whakaruruhau i te tāone matua i te wā o te Pakanga o te Raki (1845–46). E ai ki a Iti ko te nuinga o ngā kaihanga i taua pakitara he Māori, ā, e ai ki tētahi pūrongo i te New Zealand Herald 1873, i mua tonu atu i te turakanga o te nuinga o te pakitara, ‘kei runga ake i te kēti o mua, ko tētahi tuhinga ki te reo Maori’.
Mai i ngā wā o mua, kua whakamahia te ukutea ki te kape i ngā toi, inarā te tārai porotaka, papatahi hoki. Ka mahia tētahi kōmiri (tauraro) mai i te ahanoa (taurunga). I konei kei te whakamahi a Iti i taua hātepe, he mahi i te hangarewa ‘kiri’ rānei, o te pakitara, ā, ka whakaaturia te toenga o tēnei hanganga hei wāhanga kua motuhia. Hei whakatauaro i ngā maumaharatanga o te pāka pātata, kei te hangaia e ia tētahi rōpū kōpura tārewa mō te pakitara a waho.
E rua ngā tikanga e taea ai mō te kupu ‘takoto’ i te taitara – te manawa kiore o te pakitara, te whakanoho rānei i tētahi huarahi kē ki te kōrerorero mō tēnei hītori. I roto i te tuhinga toi i tōna taha, kei te maumahara a Iti i tēnei kīanga e kore e whakamahia ināianei, hei karere mai i te wā o mua ki te wāheke.
Takoto is one of the works in Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art. Click here to learn more about the full exhibition.
Artwork credit: Ana Iti, Takoto 2020, commissioned by Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2020, supported by the Chartwell Trust and the Contemporary Benefactors of Auckland Art Gallery
- Curated by
- Natasha Conland
- North Terrace