Nikau Hindin: Kōkōrangi ki Kōkōwai
20 Jun – 04 Oct 2020
Kōkōrangi ki Kōkōwai is a new body of work by Nikau Hindin (Ngai Tūpoto, Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi), showcasing her knowledge and commitment to Toi Māori, specifically in aute and documenting the movement of celestial bodies.
Barkcloth, known as siapo in Sāmoa, hiapo in Niue, kapa in Hawai'i, masi in Fiji, ngatu in Tonga and aute in Aotearoa, is prevalent throughout Moana Oceania. Believed to be lost in Aotearoa since the mid-nineteenth century, the aute plant was brought here along with kumara, taro and whau, and was worked into cloth for adornment, manu aute and to wrap taonga. With a cooler climate and changes to available resources in the 1840s, the plant and practice slowly receded from our shores. The lasting remnants of the practice found through the presence of aute in te reo Māori and the intricately worked patu aute, found in swamps throughout Aotearoa, now held by various museums across the country.
Harvesting, stripping, beating and soaking the fibres into a cloth-like material, Hindin inscribes the aute with patterns derived from tukutuku and tāniko, using kōkōwai and ngārahu. Kōkōrangi ki Kōkōwai documents the artist’s journey in understanding Maramataka and traditional celestial navigation practices, tracing and recording the movements of stars and the moon across the sky. The works in this exhibition are as much a documentation of Maramataka as they are a celebration of it, each star a tohu of a new cycle with the moon signalling a new period of environmental change, bringing growth or introspection as well as guiding harvesting and planting patterns.
Hindin’s practice has been exhibited widely throughout Aotearoa as well as internationally, most recently at Hong Kong’s Para Site. Recent exhibitions include: Takiri: an unfurling, New Zealand Maritime Museum Hui Te Ananui A Tongaroa, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (October 2019–June 2020); Koloa: Women, Art and Technology, Para Site, Hong Kong (2019–2020); Release the Stars, Tim Melville Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland (2020).
Manu aute: Māori kites
Whau: Cork Tree
Taonga: Treasure or prized-possession
Patu aute: tapa beaters
Tohu: sign or symbol
Tukutuku: ornamental lattice-work
Kōkōwai: red ochre pigment
Ngārahu: charcoal or black soot pigment
Maramataka: Māori Lunar Calendar
WATCH: Nikau Hindin talk with TVNZ Te Karere, 19 June 2020 - online here
LISTEN: Hear Nikau talk about Kōkōrangi ki Kōkōwai at The Dowse on opening weekend - online here
READ: Nikau shares some of her favourite things with Canvas's Kim Knight - online here