In Whakahoki, Keri-Mei considers how working within Te Ao Māori can bring balance and meaning to our lives, with a particular focus on mental health. The artist looks at how the Maramataka’s cycles through darkness and light can offer guidance on navigating similar phases in our own lives.
Keri-Mei has created contemporary jewellery and object art to interpret sixteen of the thirty lunar nights from the Maramataka. She uses a diverse array of materials in her handcrafted pieces including obsidian, shells, kowhai seeds, glass and pounamu. The unique objects have been translated into a series of striking light box images with photography by Norm Heke. Keri-Mei and Norm worked closely together to create digital imagery that captures the essence and kaupapa for each of the corresponding Maramataka nights. The imagery pulls viewers into the space of the Maramataka, providing an opportunity to interpret the night’s meaning and relevance. The title Whakahoki refers to Keri-Mei's engagement with the Maramataka as a way to ‘return, respond and give back’. She hopes the exhibition will prompt audiences to consider the relevance of indigenous knowledge to contemporary life.