When we thought of the theme, Aiga Famili, for the latest ManaRewa show that's currently showing at Nathan Homestead from the 24 Feb to the 2 April we knew it would draw out different interpretations from our artists but we didn't realise how varied those would be. It's pretty amazing to see.
For my own submission I mulled over the theme and weighed up how best to take a piece of me and convey the connection/history I have to Manurewa. The love I have for my family tied to our past and at the same time release the reality of where we are as a family now all in one go. It wasn't easy.
I looked at the possible options of portraiture and dismissed it as those I would want to be part of it weren't here. Landscapes could work but where? There were so many options but only one really came to mind, Weymouth Beach on the banks of Manukau Harbour, Te Manukanuka o Hoturoa. Great, I have a location but a landscape? Not really fitting my earlier stated narrative so I had to review what I was wanting to say and find a way to take this piece of my memory and expand it's meaning as an anchor for my aiga/famili/whanau/family.
I should explain, Weymouth holds a special place in my heart as it was the first beach I can claim as our family beach - it's not exactly Piha or Bethells but for me that's part of it's charm. In the 80s our father would have us all jump in our different family cars for a trip to the "beach", a muddy oyster bed with the best rock pools and a lot of noisy birds. His instructions as he dropped us off were "don't drown and watch out for each other" and then he was off for the day with pickup arranged for a few hours later. My brothers and I spent so many Summers and the odd Winter running around there - it was the best place to be. On a side note, if someone says it's all good to jump in the channel and let the current take you - they're lying. Walking back barefoot along oyster beds is as much fun as dancing on broken glass.
So, some thirty years later I found myself sitting on it's broken shell and sand beach after helping with a beach clean up program last month and as I watch a flock of variable oyster catchers it all comes flooding back. Then I had it - the birds, they would be my key and they would be my heart.
I spent a couple of days getting shots of these amazing black and white birds and from these I constructed the landscape and the portrait of my interpretation of aiga. The base would be the family evolving as each member seeks to find their individuality, the center the movement that comes that search for individuality and the irony that many find themselves part of the larger mass and moving collective. The peak, the moment you take all that you were and all you are to find peace in the currents that take you into an unknown future. None of it possible without that foundation of family that is the first and most important of who you are.