Artist inspired by local landmarks
Auckland Council artist in residence, Dr Maureen Lander, has completed her regional park residency and left behind several new art works influenced by her stay in the Waitakere Ranges.
The installation-style pieces, which are now on display at the Arataki Visitor Centre and at Lopdell House Gallery, were inspired by the forest, local people and place-names of the Waitakere Ranges.
“My time in the ranges has been inspiring and I have met some wonderful people during my stay in Titirangi,” says Dr Lander, as she returns to her home in Devonport. “I would like to thank those who have shared their stories and joined with me in celebrating this area’s rich history, through art.”
The work displayed at Arataki is a large suspended piece made up of four maro (kilt-like garments) hanging one behind the other to give a suggestion of movement through the air. The idea for this work relates to the story of the maro flung through the air by Takamiro that landed at Whatipu and became the large rock known as Marotiri (Cutter Rock).
The maro represent four fibre materials widely available in Te Wao Nui a Tiriwa (the Waitakere Ranges) used for weaving, tukutuku work and thatching in the past - harakeke, kiekie, pingao and nikau.
Other work generated during her residency spanning October - November 2010, is on show at Lopdell House Gallery as part of the Where are we exhibition. Among them are Patterns of Paturoa and Mantle for a small maunga. The latter is a ‘cloak’ formed from nikau fronds, designed for the statue of Henry Atkinson standing outside Lopdell House. The cloak acknowledges Atkinson who gifted land in and around Titirangi back to the people of Aotearoa for public and parks use.
Patterns of Paturoa is a series of colour photographs, which depict the striking similarities between the patterns seen through the mottled glass at the residency house (called Paturoa) and the patterns on the surface of Paturoa Stream.
An interactive art event initiated by Dr Lander achieved many of the aims of the regional parks based residency – sharing skills, knowledge, perspectives, ideas, and in particular; building a sense of place. The event, Hakari on Henrys Hill held on Mt Atkinson (Titirangi), was a mix of spiritual ceremony, outdoor classroom, feasting and good fun. Mt Atkinson, situated just beyond Titirangi village is little-known to many Aucklanders, but is a local landmark and was formerly known as Henry’s Hill to early settlers (after Hugh Henry who owned land there) or as Titirangi to local Iwi.
The hikoi to, and hakari on, Mt Atkinson brought together an eclectic group of people including a kaumatua representing local iwi, Auckland Botanic Gardens and regional parks staff, Unitec student weavers, Titirangi schoolchildren, parents and teachers, Lopdell House Gallery staff and local identity and owner of the former Atkinson homestead, John Geddes. A book which records this event and features photos by Liz March is on display at both Arataki Visitor Centre and Lopdell House.
Dr Lander’s parting gift at the end of her residency is a delicate site-specific work that remains at the residency house and shows off her skill in merging and mixing disparate materials - natural and manufactured. The work is a ‘mantel-piece’ made of skeletal mahoe leaves stitched to fabric donated by the family who once owned the house.
Where Are We?
Exhibition on till 13 February 2011
Lopdell House Gallery Titirangi, open daily 10-4.30am, 09 817 8087, www.lopdell.org.nz
Arataki Visitor Centre – gateway to the Waitakere Ranges
Scenic Drive, Titirangi, open daily 9am – 5pm (summer), 09 817 0077, www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
* Paturoa, the house which served as Dr Lander’s home and studio, will be available to the public for overnight stays in early 2011 as part of the Auckland Council’s Bach Escapes programme.
* Paturoa and the 3km of adjoining forest was owned by Agnes Russell who gifted it to Auckland Institute and Museum as a botanical reserve. It was later transferred to the Auckland Regional Council to manage and is now part of Waitakere Ranges Regional Parkland.
* Applications are now being accepted from artists, writers, composers and film-makers for the 2011 regional parks artist in residence programme. The selected artist will live and work at either Tawaharanui or Mahurangi Regional Park. Visit www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/arts for more information.