• Harrison Freeth
  • Benjamin Work

Bodies of Water, Made of Land is a collaborative work by Harrison Freeth and Benjamin Work that references the interconnections between body and land through the concepts of Vā (relational space) and Tā (time). Building off a previous iteration of the work at Canterbury Museum in 2023, Freeth and Work take as their point of departure their shared connections to Tonga. From here they explore how time and space intersect across people, place, objects and architecture.

Bodies of Water, Made of Land includes a house modelled after the home Freeth rents in Puketāpapa, Mount Roskill, and a metal tomotomo created by Work. Crescent-shaped tomotomo are situated at the top of the mast of Tongan voyaging vaka, acting as a director for the ship’s ropes as well as a symbolic reminder of the guiding powers of māhina, the moon. Freeth’s house points towards the tomotomo, staring at the moon with its window eyes and door mouth, under which lies a bed of volcanic rock surrounded by a sea of archival paper. Copper pirate ships which have voyaged on archival paper seas accompany warriors, who stand their ground as possible mutineers, guides or observers.

Signifying the intersections of land, sea and sky, Freeth and Work’s poetic assemblage points to the various temporal, spatial and narrative crossings that are forged through histories of migration. Exploring their shared Pālangi and Tongan heritage through overlapping motifs drawn from both cultures, the artists conceive of the present as a fluid entity crossed over by time and space – recognising that we walk forward through the past and backwards into the future.

About the artists

Harrison Freeth
Born and raised in Dunedin, Harrison Freeth pursued his artistic education at Dunedin School of Art graduating with a BVA. Harrison's work delves into the human experience through storytelling and embodiment. His art reflects an exploration of the intricate, contradictory and poetic aspects of life, employing the role of an affable trickster to provoke deeper contemplation of image and material meanings. Weaving threads of his ancestry into his pre-existing practice, Harrison explores his relationship to Tonga through his grandmother Sola Guttenbeil, who was born in Vava'u and migrated to Aotearoa in the 1940s.

Benjamin Work
Benjamin Work (b. 1979) is an artist, Tāmaki Makaurau-born and raised, with Tongan and Scottish heritage. Work’s evolution exemplifies the new trajectories of artists reared on American sub/pop culture, while also explicitly exploring the complexities of both cultural institutions and the Moana Oceania diaspora. Drawing on his heritage, Work has pushed his art in new directions over the last decade. He is inspired by his research throughout museums across the globe that house Tongan iconography, found on cultural treasures such as ‘akau tau (weaponry). He is represented by Bergman Gallery.

Opening Hours

  • Monday - Sunday, 9am - 5pm
  • Closed public holidays


  • 13 Reeves Road
  • Pakuranga
  • Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland 2010