The Journey Home Collection
The painting collection of the journey finding my way home, discovering family, exploring culture and understanding identity.
Across the Waters, is one of the first paintings of my new collection. I was researching the ancestors journey across the waters from their original homeland. They set out on their waka, being guided by the stars, in search of new land and a new life. It would have taken such courage and strength, to launch out with their families into the unknown. This is how I felt, packing up all that I had and leaving all that I knew, to venture home to a land I know nothing about. It is both exciting and scary to begin again, but I feel compelled to take the journey.
Tangata Whenua, this is one of the first Māori words & concepts I understood in my journey home - 'People of the Land'. The connection Māori have for their land & nation, the earth itself, the ancestors that have passed through the veil & the family present now. It is more than just living on a patch of ground in a house, it is what it means to belong - to a people, to a place.
There is a place near my friend Treena's house where we would sit with coffee, look out at the beautiful view and talk about the adventures of finding my family. From this bench seat, all you could see was water, a sliver of land and sky. This painting is a celebration of the beautiful land of Aotearoa. This is home.
There is something so solidifying about being home. It’s the resonance of the colours, the sound, the beauty of the land and the people. Everything is connected in whakapapa, right back to creation itself, and if pākehā genealogy is represented by a family tree, then whakapapa is like the whole forest!
When I first met my brother Brownie, he embraced me into the family, reciting our whakapapa and blessing me with the Lord’s prayer in Te Reo. He gave me the pendant from around his neck (the shape is in the painting), a koru design that he had carved from a Mother of pearl shell, and I felt such an incredible sense of belonging.
This story of my journey home, finding my family and a place in New Zealand, is a story of reconciliation that could have only been made possible by divine grace. I am a tale of two cultures. I feel I am one of the hui birds come home. Resurrected from extinction and now on a path for finding true identity and exploring the inheritance (knowledge) of my Māori heritage. As I come to understand this history, culture and inheritance, it will strengthen who I am as a person and an artist.
Coming home has given me such permission to be myself, passionate, loud, colourful and full of life. These paintings are an expression of who I am. The colour red deeply moves me and as I allow myself the freedom to be me, my paintings become an Inheritance of all I am yet to understand.