Lonnie Hutchinson speaks on the use of Te Reo in her work
For Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori / Māori Language Week 2015, Te Puna o Waiwhetū Christchurch Art Gallery invited five Māori artists to talk about the use of te reo in their work.
Related reading: Te Reo
From her studio window in the port town of Ōhinehou / Lyttelton, Lonnie Hutchinson could see the volcanic range commonly known as the Seven Sisters running along the back of Ōhinetahi / Governors Bay. A pivotal work in the artist’s career, Sista7 celebrates this evening vista and the sense of belonging she felt nestled in the rohe (territory) of Ngāti Wheke, the hapū (subtribe) based at nearby Rāpaki. The spiritual and cultural values of Hutchinson’s dual Samoan and Ngāi Tahu heritage are firmly embedded in her practice. Hand-cut in black builder’s paper, positive and negative elements recall the fundamentals of Polynesian and Māori design. The rhythm of folds and the elegant shadows cast by the motifs inspire a natural sense of wonder.
(Te Wheke, 2020)
The dimensions given here are for one of this work's seven individual parts. The spacing between each part, and thus the width of the entire work, can vary. In this image from the exhibition Te Puāwai o Ngāi Tahu (10 May – 24 August 2003), the parts are installed 300mm apart.
Lonnie Hutchinson’s intricately cut-out billboard celebrates supportive friendships between womenLonnie Hutchinson’s intricately cut-out billboard celebrates supportive friendships between women
Lara Strongman: Why did you call this work Hoa Kōhine (Girlfriend)?
Lonnie Hutchinson: The work is very feminine in nature. Because it’s the 125 year celebration of women’s suffrage in Aotearoa this year, I wanted to refer to women, and to the friendship between women. “Girlfriend” is what women friends call each other, in an affectionate sort of way. Hey girlfriend! And in a text we’ll use gf.
Lonnie Hutchinson's sista7
I am writing about a favourite piece from the Gallery’s collection in autumn 2015, when that collection is in storage and the Gallery is closed at least until Christmas, so I’m prompting memory by consulting the online catalogue. It’s brilliant: hundreds of images, 90 percent of the entire 7,000 collection, but to be honest, it feels a bit odd.
Welcome – nau mai haere mai. Kei Te Ararau o Tangaroa / Pathways Across Oceania is an attempt to understand the Gallery’s collection from the perspective of our place in Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa, the Pacific Ocean. Full of stories of migration, connection and belonging, this huge new exhibition reflects the connections and tensions that shape our past, present and future.