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Mata Aho Collective: On the International Stage

A collective of four wāhine māori, 2022 Laureates Mata Aho make large scale fibre works grounded in tradition and research. They have received critical acclaim locally and overseas, and are currently representing Aotearoa on the global stage with their latest work ‘Tuakirikiri’, at the prestigious Gwangju Biennale in Korea. Read more about the work (and watch a video about it's making!) below.

"Earthly water does not go without rocks. The rivers flow along pathways of rock, the power of water transforms boulders, to smooth stones, to pebbles, to silt. Our new work for Gwangju Biennale focuses on Tuakirikiri, the influential ancestor of gravel and small rocks. An ever-present element, Tuakirikiri reminds us of the humble potential and power of community.

The central customary proverb we drew inspiration from is:

He ope ā Hine-Tuakirikiri e kore taea te tatau
A group from Hine-Tuakirikiri that cannot be counted

These words allude to a timeless solidarity, interconnectedness, power in numbers, and draw strength from ancient ties."

"Tiedowns are used in our communities like they are in many places around the world; a tool of security, to help carry heavy loads, to be tied and woven around moving cargo.
The orange is a reference to the iron-rich Parawhenuamea, the Māori embodiment of fresh water. Her body shifts and changes colour from the mountains to the sea, she carries ancient life in the form of orange bio-genic iron that gets filtered into soils, plants, and us.

This particular hi-vis orange is one of safety and is an acknowledgement the people who work with these materials every day. Highlighting the often invisible, the orange moves through the grey of Tuakiriri, the strength of tension relying on one another to create an environment."

Watch the making of 'Tuakirikiri'