“The key message of Re-patterning is about the fragile dynamic balance in the patterns of orderly systems in our Universe. Evolved over billions of years, these patterns weave together a mix of forces, into which our Earth fits almost invisibly. And that’s the problem. It’s such a seamless fit, we are not aware of the impact of practices amongst our human species that threaten this balance.
I have looked at this condition from a Maori world view. In this world our whakapapa or connectedness, links us all the way back to the Atua, or deities who have dominion over certain elements of the material world. Not only do they have dominion, they ARE that dominion. There is Tangaroa, who is the sea, Tawhirimatea the wind, Tanemahuta the world of our landscape environment, plus others. But get this – our direct connection to them presents us with a shared custodial responsibility and part of that responsibility, is to be aware of our intrusion into this balanced order.
The works in this exhibition are deliberately made to convey a sense of the fragility of this balance. There is inherent pattern and movement, but it sits against a background of disturbed unity. Timbers are used sparingly, constructing new forms with a fresh approach to their flexibility. The patu or drums that passed messages from village to village are silent. There is no massive timber left to build waka with regard for its sustainability. Waterways once filled with the traffic of craft bringing produce to market, children to school, fishermen to kai, are now themselves tainted by pollution. Indeed, so denuded are our landscapes, they are being washed into the sea and will take 40 generations to replenish fully.
Once it was possible to point the finger at the colonisers for this mess. They brought their thrones and furnishings and technologies and tilted the world of Aotearoa on its axis for a brief century and a half. But we now know that they are not the culprits – that 6 generations of impact will need 40 to restore the balance. We are all responsible for a failure to listen and notice. Pouhihi and her Mangai are very important to us, but we need to cultivate their sensitivity to the underlying patterns. Ironically, without us in their way, the repair systems would be much more effective in restoring order.”
– Carin Wilson, 2011