Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Maori raincloaks ( to excess)

Today we are in Te Anau and once again it is raining - anytime we try to do anything outdoors based it rains! So it seems a good time to tell you about my obsession with Maori rain capes called korowai. These were heirloom cloaks made for the chiefs of the tribes, woven and often containing thousands of valuable bird feathers or made out of dog fur. Others, as you can see in this painting by Goldie have little thread (flax) 'tags' all over them. I have become rather fascinated with them and was delighted in Christchurch to find that the museum had a special exhibition of modern cloaks made by Roka Ngarimu-Cameron. As part of a master degree he explored innovative ways of weaving and design resulting in a catwalk of cloaks all easily recognisable as derived from the original but changing into more modern forms. It was particularly interesting to see the addition of tartan to reflect Scottish mixed heritage. they were hard to photograph but the lights that made photography hard showed the work off to great effect in the room.I have been thinking about how to use these cloaks as inspiration for the innovative samples I have to do for my City and Guilds. So it was with great interest that I came up out of the underwater observatory in Milford Sound yesterday to see this art installation on the wall inspired by those flax 'tags'.
Or so I momentarily thought. Then I realised it was the bare lighting wires the builders doing the renovations had partially installed. Proof that the definition of art is in the attitude of the viewer!

1 comment:

Helen said...

I had to laugh when I got to the end bit of this post :-)