Charlotte Graham, Te Wai o Te Kauri, 2014

SI Charlotte Graham .jpg
SI Charlotte Graham .jpg

Charlotte Graham, Te Wai o Te Kauri, 2014

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Limited edition digital print on 310gsm Ilford Galerie Smooth Cotton Archival Paper 

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My work depicts a variety of manu / birds, as they are the children of Tane Mahuta (god of the forest). Kauri is the tuakana, the elder of all trees. Kauri gifts us waka, representing balance, and kauri gum represents tears or grief. Kauri bark nurtures other plants, nourishing and conditioning its own root systems. Native birds are inscribed in colours pertaining to their natural cloak over the kauri ring - the blueprint to whakapapa. Like a chorus, these manu speak in both Maori and English.

Tiakina I te whenua (protect the land).
Tiakina I te kauri (protect the kauri).
Kia whakatika ra (correct it now).
Kauri, love, education and more.

The manu speak of their habitat, our environment, asking us to focus on kauri and the kauri dieback disease, which is slowly killing our elder tree. They ask that we listen, learn and, like the song’s chorus, educate ourselves in how we can help stop the spreading of this disease when we enter the forest.

Auckland-based, Charlotte Graham is of Scottish and Waikato descent – Ngati Mahuta, Ngai Tai, Ngati Tamaoho. From a generation of Maori artists who draw on their tribal heritage in order to explore critical issues affecting New Zealand society such as racism, indigeneity and land rights, her recent work explores notions of politics and healing.