If you’re in Auckland this weekend you could brighten up your life with a visit to Objectspace to check out Wharenui Harikoa, an installation of Lissy Robinson-Cole and Rudi Robinson’s crocheted sculptural forms. For the past eight years, the husband and wife have been expressing mātauranga Māori and their personal whakapapa in these bright neon creations in traditional hrough crocheted sculptural forms toi whakairo shapes. Their mahi “offers a new way of understanding the importance of joy and aroha within te aō Māori”. If joy and aroha aren’t your first reactions to these works, maybe they’re exactly what you need right now.
Lissy Robinson-Cole (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu) and Rudi Robinson (Ngāti Paoa, Ngaruahine, Ngāti Makirangi, Ngāti Tu) use “the magic of the crochet hook” to ‘infuse and connect whakapapa (geneaology), wairua (spirit) and experiences as Māori and Pakeha into their unique mahi toi (art works)’.
“As Indigenous people we are in the stream of our wairua being carried by our Tūpuna in a way that is connecting us together and to our world around us. We invite you on our journey of creating Wharenui Harikoa (House of Joy) in which we welcome you to enter, to share breath, life, colour, vibrancy, hope, joy but mostly aroha (love).”
The Objectspace exhibition for this weekend only (26-28 May), this weekend only, comprises pieces to date in the evolution of Wharenui Harikoa, the House of Joy. This is planned as an almost full scale whare, featuring a number of poupou, tekoteko, tukutuku panels and adorned pou tokomanawa. For this stage of the journey, Lissy and Rudi will be sharing the kaupapa on Friday 27 May, 2pm; the programme also includes a dance event on Friday, and a beginners’ knitting and crochet workshop on Saturday 28 May (11am-12.30pm). Although this incarnation is brief, it’s just a beginning. Wharenui Harikoa will also be shown at the Dowse later this year, with the full whare to be launched at Matariki 2023, after which it will tour nationally.
Wharenui Harikoa is a special event ahead of the Queen’s Birthday weekend opening of Objectspace’s winter season which includes a new exhibition of work by weaver Christopher Duncan, More than Castles (4 June – 21 August), a selection from a recent body of flat-weave rugs: https://www.objectspace.org.nz/exhibitions/more-than-castles/. (This work was shown last year at The National in Christchurch, which has one more week of Julia Holderness’s wonderful The Studio, a mixed-media recreation of a part-historic, part-imagined, group of mid-20th century women artists.)