Tangata whenuatanga


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Ryan Williams


Not specified


South Otago High School




Tangata Whenuatanga


Acrylic paint on card


In this painting, I tried to convey a strong sense of kaitiakitanga (guardianship) and tangata whenuatanga over the land. I also reflected on the superficial reality we now live in, in comparison to the guardianship that the first settlers had over the land - my tūrangawaewae. The curtains and frames reflect on my ancestry and the period features - Renaissance style framing looks at the difference in cultural practice between the two cultures. Myself depicted in the left whilst remaining to the land shows the influence of life and death in Mātauranga Māori – captured by the whakataukī “Whatungarongaro te tangata, toitū te whenua”. I used tonal variation to showcase the darkness plagued by the land under Scottish lack of guardianship - my ancestors’ influence and how it affected the land. My hands holding up the curtains are holding family heirlooms - a pocket watch and locket - again symbolising my ancestors’ influence/effect on the land. The waka in the foreground of the work again connects myself being at peace with the land “Ko au te whenua, ko te whenua ko au”, when my tūrangawaewae was under Kāti Māmoe and Ngāi Tahu guardianship. Overall this work is a showcase of how our connections to the land and Māori guardianship of the land should be looked upon and the effect of my ancestors lack of guardianship over the land. The Māori people were the first settlers of the land. They were one with the land and respected the land. I explored this through a visual representation of my inner thoughts/anger with my ancestors’ actions and how they affect me.

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