Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Kowhaiwhai Presentation with handout

What follows is the presentation, suitably arranged for the blog format, that I gave to the art class.  For those who don't know Kowhaiwhai panels are painted designs that are found in maraes and everywhere else in this country.
(Sorry about the quality.  All I had was a cellphone)

 The scorecard at the bottom was a handout that I've included for the sake of completeness.  Feel free to print it out and pretend that you were actually there

People from many sources say that kowhaiwhai are examples of abstract art.  I don’t believe that it is. 

Jackson Pollock is abstract.  This is, perhaps, a rather extreme example but it’s necessary to get the point across.
The Kowhaiwhai panels and indeed the traditional Maori arts are something that is very stylized.  So much so that anything extra has been removed or smoothed away over time until only the essence of the subject remains.

This explains why this is recognizable as a hammerhead

Here is a design that folds in on itself but in an interesting contradiction continues forwards.  It is a very natural design and meanings include bending, swaying, flourishing and other hippie type language.

As mentioned before this design is the hammerhead shark.  It represents strength and power which are two things that any hammerhead has in abundance.
This design is more open than the Koiri but retains a quiet power all of its own.

This is possibly the easiest pattern of the bunch which naturally means that it will be full of hidden pitfalls. 
The Rauru represents the woodcarver’s spirals and in doing so it links the wooden carvings and Kowhaiwhai together.

My theme for this design is family since that is what is important to me and I say this secure in the knowledge that I haven't actually called mum in well over a month.

                     The wave:
The wave was the first necklace that I was given by my brother.  It was originally the beak of a kaka but over time the lower part of the beak and the paua shell that served as its eye were broken and lost respectively.   Finally I gave up and renamed the necklace.

                     The hook:
This was the second necklace given to me by my parents when I was older.  It doesn't have any real stories attached to it but has been earmarked for my firstborn child.
                     The Greenstone:
The final piece was/is my first piece of greenstone and was a gift from my grandmother in the Christmas before I went off to discover the world.

It came from deep in Otaki and was blessed four times before it got to me and in all the time I've been wearing it I've never yet been attacked by rampaging Taniwha which can only prove that it works.




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