slew, slough, slue
Reclaimed kahikatea timber, butter.
Miranda Bellamy and Amanda Fauteux’s sculptural installation explores the interconnected relationship between Aotearoa’s native kahikatea trees and the history of New Zealand’s butter export industry. The work emerges from the artist’s research into the history of Queens Wharf, where the Fair takes place, and of the first shipments of New Zealand butter which were sent from wharfs across the motu in the 1880s in boxes made from kahikatea. By 1917 the British government was purchasing all of New Zealand’s exportable butter, cementing New Zealand’s status as world’s largest exporter of butter.
Using found Kahikatea planks the artists have created a ”booth”, similar to the commercial booths in the fair, to display a series of moulded butter sculptures that reference hawsers (ship ropes), wharf cleats, and bollards, objects with an association to shipping and wharfs.
“Our practice is in conversation with the overlooked meanings and stories held within material aspects of the everyday. slew, slough, slue brings forward the intersecting stories of kahikatea, butter, and the site of Queens Wharf. In listening to the stories of plants, we look to understand what it means to be in the world.
We are attuned to the stories held within the materials that we use. Through the reclaimed floorboards, we consider their decades and centuries in the wetlands of Te Waipounamu, their time as a villa floor in early colonial Ōtautahi, to be cracked and broken during the earthquakes, before being saved from the firewood pile and making their way to us.”
Bellamy and Fauteux have been commissioned to create a new artwork for the 2022 Aotearoa Art Fair with generous support from The Chartwell Trust.
Image: Bellamy and Fauteux, slew, slough, slue (work in progress), courtesy of the artists.
The artists acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts and The New Brunswick Arts Board.