WAI contains images that speak about the absence of water, the search for it and the illusion of it. We... Read More
WAI contains images that speak about the absence of water, the search for it and the illusion of it. We are water! I have chosen to use the Māori language to narrate this absence of water project because of the closeness that these indigenous people have had with water for centuries and the number of words in their language that contain the term water in them. I feel close to this group of people. In the Māori language, the word māori means "normal", "natural" or "ordinary". In legends and oral traditions, the word distinguished ordinary mortal human beings - tāngata māori - from deities and spirits (wairua). Likewise, wai māori denotes "freshwater", as opposed to saltwater and so on.
Here is an excerpt from the book Mountains to Sea: Solving New Zealand’s Freshwater Crisis, where Tina Ngata talks about the whakapapa of life-giving freshwater and how Māori people feel about water: “…Ko wai tēnei
When I speak to wai I speak to myself – and that is not only to acknowledge the inherent understanding that many Māori carry, which is ‘Ko wai mātou – we are water’ – but also that my knowing of wai has been developed through my distinct exposure to elders, experts and experience. This linguistic relationship can also help us to understand our traditional perspectives and the central role that water has played in our sense of identity and well-being. ‘Ko wai mātou’ also means ‘Who are we’. ‘Waiora’ relates to a sense of well-being across our physical, spiritual, emotional, communal and environmental dimensions, while ‘Wairangi’ describes a state of emotional and mental upheaval. Māori narratives of water are as diverse as they are rich – and so while I acknowledge the commonalities that carry across not just iwi, but also many Indigenous peoples, I also honour the distinctiveness of my knowing, just as we should honour the distinctiveness of each waterway, and offer this as my own…”
TITLES OF THE 11 PHOTOS INCLUDED IN THIS EXHIBITION:
1. Te rere mot e wai: Running for water
2. Ngawī wai: Go for water
3. Whakahaehae tāone: Eerie city
8. Te wai mangamangaiatua: The water ghost
10. Ko wai mātou: We are water
4. Tāone kāo wai: City without water
5. Whakarehu wai: Dreaming of water
6. Raru wai: Conflicted waters
7. Te tira wai: Traveling for water
9. Karanga wai: Calling water
11. Wairua: Water spirit
* Technical information:
- Eleven (60 x 45 cm) black and white photos printed on cotton paper with wood frames.
- One CD of sounds recorded in deserts and cities for broadcasting in situ.