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Lonnie Hutchinson – I Like Your Form

A temporary artwork at The Arcades Project, 70 Kilmore St presented by FESTA from 28 July – 14 September 2014

I Like Your Form by artist Lonnie Hutchinson responds to FESTA’s invitation to intervene in The Arcades Project, temporarily transforming this landmark work of transitional architecture. The work, a giant hinaki or eel trap 50 metres long, shifts and expands not only the Arcades but the entire site. It brings to the forefront traditions, uses and cultural significance that might otherwise be overlooked in the hectic daily construction and repair activity that now marks the central city. We invite you to pause and absorb its pleasing form with the hope that it sparks conversation.

I Like Your Form

Kā Pakihi Whakatekateka o Waitaha
The plains where the Waitaha strutted proudly
- Rākaihautū and Rakihouia, Waitaha

This Ngāi Tahu pepeha can be seen as something of a tribal boast as it reflects Waitaha’s original delight in deciding on their first South Island home. Today it is used to link Canterbury Ngāi Tahu with their earlier Waitaha ancestors. The pepeha is attributed to founding Waitaha tūpuna Rākaihautū and Rakihouia.

Pepeha are customary forms of spoken expression. They often embody tribal histories of settlement, tribal migrations, whakapapa/genealogy or allude to the deeds of ancestors. They can be cited as codes for living, as insight into Ngāi Tahu perspectives of the world or as landmarks that anchor the past and reach to the future.

I have used the ‘landmark’ Kā Pakihi Whakatekateka o Waitaha pepeha for this project, distilling the pepeha’s essential meaning and reimagining it in a visual form.

The intervention of kupenga/net artwork I Like Your Form in the Arcades draws from the form of traditional Māori fishing kupenga/nets and hinaki/eel traps that were used to catch inaka/white bait and tuna/eels in the Ōtākaro/Avon River.

The Ōtākaro/Avon River plays a unique role in the traditional economy and culture of Ngāi Tahu. The most direct physical relationship that Ngāi Tahu have with water involves the protection, harvesting, and management of mahinga kai. The term “mahinga kai” refers to natural resources and the area in which they are found. It includes the way resources are gathered, the places they are gathered from, and the resources themselves, for example, fish such as tuna/eel and inaka/whitebait, and materials such as harakeke. The Ōtākaro/Avon River was highly regarded as mahinga kai by Māori living around or near what is now the Christchurch area. The intervention of the kupenga/net tensioned between the two sets of arcades is a reclaiming of ‘site’ that is of significance to Ngāi Tahu. I Like Your Form acknowledges and celebrates the Ngāi Tahu Claims Settlement Act 1998 and in particular customary fishing and management rights.

I named this artwork I Like Your Form because I am very fond of traditional hinaki forms and I like the complimentary nature of this phrase.

Lonnie Hutchinson, July 2014

 

Lonnie Hutchinson

Informed by the cultural riches of her Polynesian heritage (Māori – Ngāi Tahu, Samoan), Lonnie Hutchinson is a multi media and installation artist who exhibits in New Zealand.

Drawing lies at the base of Hutchinson’s practice, which is influenced by contemporary culture and Polynesian aesthetics and art forms. Recent public commissions include All that you breathe (Victoria University), Te Waharoa ki te ao Mārama (Hamilton Lake) and Honoa ki te hono Tawhiti (Auckland Art Gallery).

Lonnie’s work can be found in The Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, The Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna O Waiwhetu, the Hocken Library Dunedin, the Queensland Art Gallery, the National Gallery of Australia, The Chartwell Collection and in private collections throughout New Zealand and abroad.