Mau Kaki Paraaoa (Whalebone Necklace) | Alexis Neal
Ka mua ka muri Series by Alexis Neal
Reflecting on previous bodies of work, Ka mua ka muri; I am looking back in order to move forward. Reminding us that the past is still relevant, looking back at what was lost, in exchange for more loss. Dense with nostalgia, but tenderness is woven into the narrative, softened by the beautiful forms that shape this new series of works. Sighs, not angry shouts, blow through the work.
Old, scratched and up-cycled plates have been re-shaped and made to look over-handled… made to look like they carry history. They are honouring the past, reaching ever more forward to where we stand today. My work predominately has looked at the duality of artifacts and material culture to explore a sense of identity through my mixed heritage.
There is a deliberate juxtaposition in the arrangement of these plates to create multiple readings, creating new narratives. Cloak-like forms merge into pendant shapes all relating to the body, objects symbolic of high rank (pertaining mana) depending on who wore them and how rare. The internal and external shapes are based around elements of protection; kaitiaki/guardian to keep safe, as a kind of self-portrait without the person there.
The shaping of Taonga/artifact, personal adornment, and weaponry is a long-standing interest. The influence of the natural world seems obvious, not just in the materials used for such items, but in the bird-like forms that have inspired weaponry and tools shaped for a purpose. They talk about the hand of the maker, their tribal connections, and their personal story, leaving their mark behind.
The hand of the artist is evident, handmade editioned prints, printed one by one, leaving my signature mark behind. I am a maker, who is driven by technical skills; etching provides me with a type of making that essentially is about the processing of the plates as though I was making personal adornment, the printing secondary.
Dark shades of sap green give the feeling of pounamu/greenstone and shades of sepia brown are combined with bone coloured chine-collé papers creating distinct whalebone surface qualities. Elements of blood-red adorn the work as a reference to Hei tiki; in human form. A love of paper, the works harbour layers of texture, subtle colouring sympathetic to the subject matter. All elements of materiality are married together to enhance and to accentuate the plate forms.
The exploration of cultural identity, the value of history, and the complexities of human connection are contemplated, to show how artifacts can be both personal adornment and remnants of material culture. Here, the Maori story is rendered with contemporary materials. It is social and personal, cultural and human. It includes you.
It is often the material culture that we leave behind, heirlooms, personal items, fragments of history, dense with memory and stories once told.
Limited Edition of 12
Mulit-plate softground & drypoint etching w/ chine-collé
Printed upon - Hahnemuhle Paper
UNFRAMED - Width - 400mm x Height - 600mm
Please Note - This print has been framed with a near-matching backing board - NOT with a white backing board as displayed. The in-situ mock up is an example of visual representation within an environment and does not truly reflect the size of the framed prints. Please refer to the measurements above for the exact size of this unframed print.
Please allow up to 10 working days for us to organise framing.
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