Wai Ching Chan and Tessa Ma'auga

Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫

12 Mar — 24 Apr

Image: Taonga from collaborative installation, 2022.
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Image: Taonga from collaborative installation, 2022.

Image: Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Lineage of Nǚwā (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Lineage of Nǚwā (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Lineage of Nǚwā (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Lineage of Nǚwā (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Wai Ching Chan, 若水 ruò shuǐ (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Wai Ching Chan, 若水 ruò shuǐ (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Wai Ching Chan, 若水 ruò shuǐ (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Wai Ching Chan, 若水 ruò shuǐ (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Wai Ching Chan, 若水 ruò shuǐ (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Wai Ching Chan, 若水 ruò shuǐ (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Wai Ching Chan, 百川 bǎi chuān (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Wai Ching Chan, 百川 bǎi chuān (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Currents from Pearl River, (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Currents from Pearl River, (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Longing for homeland (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Longing for homeland (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Longing for homeland (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Longing for homeland (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Longing for homeland (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Longing for homeland (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Longing for homeland (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Tessa Ma’auga, Longing for homeland (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Wai Ching Chan, 善淵 shàn yuān (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Wai Ching Chan, 善淵 shàn yuān (installation view), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Wai Ching Chan, 善淵 shàn yuān (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Wai Ching Chan, 善淵 shàn yuān (detail), 2022. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Taonga from: Kerry Ann Lee, Campbell Gin, David Lew, Kim Lowe, Shane Hansen, Allan Xia, Jing Yi Chin, Amy Weng, Simon Kaan, Carmel and Maxine Chan- Salmanzadeh, Monica Wang, and Xin Cheng (left to right). Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Taonga from: Kerry Ann Lee, Campbell Gin, David Lew, Kim Lowe, Shane Hansen, Allan Xia, Jing Yi Chin, Amy Weng, Simon Kaan, Carmel and Maxine Chan- Salmanzadeh, Monica Wang, and Xin Cheng (left to right). Photo: Janneth Gil.

Image: Taonga from: Kerry Ann Lee, Campbell Gin, David Lew, Kim Lowe, Shane Hansen, Allan Xia, Jing Yi Chin, Amy Weng, Simon Kaan, Carmel and Maxine Chan- Salmanzadeh, Monica Wang, and Xin Cheng. Photo: Janneth Gil.
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Image: Taonga from: Kerry Ann Lee, Campbell Gin, David Lew, Kim Lowe, Shane Hansen, Allan Xia, Jing Yi Chin, Amy Weng, Simon Kaan, Carmel and Maxine Chan- Salmanzadeh, Monica Wang, and Xin Cheng. Photo: Janneth Gil.

Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫
Wai Ching Chan and Tessa Ma’auga
Curated by Michelle Wang

Exhibition runs: 12 March – 24 April 2022
Artist talk: Saturday 12 March, 11am

Please note that we will not be hosting an opening event due to the Omicron outbreak.

Kotahi te aho ka whati; ki te kāpuia e kore e whati.
One strand of flax is easy to break, but many strands together will stand strong.

單絲不綫 A single thread can’t make a cord.

Employing a language of threads and knots, Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 is a collaborative exhibition that explores ancient Chinese narratives in connection with people, materials, and relationships in Aotearoa.

According to some Chinese origin narratives, the world began in a murky dark void, from which the dual forces of yin and yang and heaven and earth emerged and intermingled, giving birth to the myriad life forms in the ecosystem. Due to a period of crisis, a great deluge occurred, after which the goddess Nǚwā 女媧 patched up the heavens and cut off the legs of a giant turtle to use as pillars to prop up the sky. Nǚwā 女媧 went on to form humanity from soil and rope. Thus, humanity was created to care for their ancestral heritage, in harmony with the natural environment.

In this exhibition, Wai Ching Chan and Tessa Ma’auga remake the four pillars of heaven using harakeke, silk, manila rope, wool, mop string, mulberry paper and pearls. Made from natural materials that speak to seafaring and migration, these pillars seek to reconnect and hold cultural and historical links between China and Aotearoa using traditional Chinese knots, paper cutting, and other weaving techniques. The installation also incorporates the voices of people with Chinese whakapapa across Aotearoa, who were asked to contribute an object and a statement that expresses the diversity and breadth of their experiences.

Built with friendship and love, the ropes in this exhibition aims to repair the relationships between tauiwi and tangata whenua, and gather the voices of those with Chinese whakapapa in their threads. Every knot has a meaning and together they hold a message of whanaungatanga, kotahitanga, kaitiakitanga, manaakitanga, and aroha.

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Wai Ching Chan is a Hong Kong born artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau. In her fibre-based installations she uses Chinese knots as her language to reconstruct and reinforce the connections and unity that exists between tauiwi and tangata whenua in Aotearoa. Wai’s recent exhibitions include Ā Mua: New Lineages of Making, The Dowse Art Museum, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, 2020; Wishing Well, Enjoy Contemporary Art Space, Te Whanganui-a-Tara, 2020; and Hold, Window, University of Auckland, Tāmaki Makaurau, 2019.

Tessa Ma'auga is currently completing her PhD in creative arts at Massey University Te Kunenga ki Pūrehuroa in Te Papaioea. Her artistic research employs a language of knots and fibre-based art to explore the nature of essential relationships within the universe, focusing on the connections between Aotearoa and Southern China. Her main occupation and passion is as a mother and educator in her neighbourhood. Recent exhibitions include Waitangi, Whytangi, Whywetangi, Square Edge Arts Centre, Te Papaioea, 2022; National Contemporary Art Award, Waikato Museum, Kirikiriroa, 2018; and Fibres of our Ropes, Massey University, Te Papaioea, 2018.

Free Downloads:
Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 Roomsheet (pdf) A response to Kāpuia ngā aho 單絲不綫 by Kim Lowe (pdf)