• Janine Randerson

In Kāpia: Fossils and Remedies (2020) Janine Randerson creates a closely observed view of the varied states and histories of kāpia, or Kauri gum. Randerson’s work centres on ecological systems, and she often uses her practice to gather perspectives, expand discourse and collaborate across disciplines and cultural positions. In Kāpia, she opens up space to consider the botanical functions of kāpia, which both protects the Kauri from fungi, insects and microorganisms, and heals damage to the surface of the tree. In parallel, she draws on examples of kāpia held as museum artefacts, activating an alternative history of the function and utility of this material to people across time.

The artist has documented kāpia on a Kauri growing in a public park in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, in an area outside of the rāhui that has been set down to prevent the spread of Kauri dieback. Her view shifts between liquid, solid, flame, and fossil; transitioning between documentation of kāpia as a living material to a series of kāpia artefacts held in the care of Matakohe Kauri museum in Kaikohe, Northland. These objects include fossilised insects and other inclusions - some naturally occurring, others manufactured by gum diggers in the 19th century for sale as curiosities. Randerson includes one piece of amber that is fused to a seam of coal, an ancient object that dates back to the Eocene period. Together, these views of kāpia come together as ‘multi-temporal imaginings,’ weaving the botanical functions of kāpia together with glimpses of its histories as a resource to both Māori and Pākehā. She says of the work: ‘As a bleeding flow and sealant, kāpia is analogous in some ways to a fluid and excessive survival response to our damaged planet and the fragility of all life in the era of the Anthropocene, a remedy for survival.’

Quotes in this text are drawn from the artist’s statement, which can be read in full HERE

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