Shona Rapira Davies (Ngāti Wai ki Aotea) presents the first of two large-scale sculptural installations at the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery / Len Lye Centre.
Ko Te Kihikihi acknowledges Taranaki history, particularly the Land Wars which saw armed conflict over land ownership and sovereignty between Iwi and the New Zealand government from March 1860 to March 1861.
Referencing the transformation of the native bush through the process of colonisation, punctuated with historical touchpoints, the work is named in honour of the children and whānau of Taranaki.
“The chatter of the children was likened to the sounds of the kihikihi (cicadas) at the height of summer. The sound is a reminder of the abundance of food, warmth, and the welcome and manaaki of the Iwi. The Iwi sent their children with kete loaded with food for the British troops, an army that had come to invade the land, extinguish anyone who got in their way, and make a prisoner of anybody who survived.” – Shona Rapira Davies.
Davies is a senior New Zealand artist who over the past 45-years has worked principally in large-scale installation and sculpture, including outdoor public art. Shona works in a variety of media, including ceramic, wood, steel and stone, and has a strong drawing practice used both as a methodology with in the development of her sculpture and as an art practice in its own right. Her work draws on personal and family histories to express broader social and political concerns often related to the ongoing project of colonialization.