SARAH SHACKLETON WITH SIMON COX
Turangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Maori concepts. Literally turanga means `standing place´ and waewae `the feet´, thus it is most commonly translated as `a place to stand´. But, simple translation misses a deeper spiritual meaning. Turangawaewae are places where we feel connected and empowered. They are our foundation, our place in the world, our home. Connection to place and the whenua (land) is fundamental to Maori identity and not unfamiliar to Pakeha. It shapes our thinking, our way of being, our priorities and values.
The work shown here is the result of a collaboration between myself and the New Zealand Scientist Simon Cox. For our collaboration we decided to use video as a way to create a combined artwork, which would tie together our shared Pakeha feeling for the land. While the world locked down and turned to online relationships during Covid, Simon recorded a stream of consciousness and immediate thoughts as he looked at and read the landscape. Warrington beach where he lives near Dunedin city provided the setting for physical walks and mental wanderings. A set of `online lectures´ were created from views to the East, South, West and North outlining some science of tectonics, earthquakes, sea level rise and climate change across Te Waipounamu – the South Island of New Zealand.
Using these recordings I tapped back into my memory of Te Waipounamu, using this to generate the series of artworks, Turangawaewae. Projecting Simon´s videos onto the canvas, I dissected the lectures into a series of complex lines, shapes, colours and textures, reconstructing the science into a chaos of layers on the surface of the painting. All the while the artistic side of the project was both projected and mirrored in video.