Te Uru Aute 2019
With Te Uru Aute, Nikau Hindin (Te Rarawa, Ngāpuhi) extends her long-term project to ‘reawaken’ the process of making aute, Māori tapa cloth. Along with kūmara, aute (‘paper mulberry’) was brought to Aotearoa from Hawaiki by ancestress Whakaotirangi of Te Arawa waka. However, the production of cloth did not endure. Hindin’s mission to relearn the practice was influenced by the revitalisation of celestial navigation and her involvement with waka haurua throughout Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa. This new wave of ancient knowledge is reflected in the aute she makes, which depend on the same precision required for navigation.
Hindin uses the star compass to inform the marks she creates with awe (derived from soot) and earthen pigments. The works function as maps, with lines denoting the positions of stars rising on the horizon. They are not only spatial but also temporal, helping her to remember the declination of stars and the way the night sky changes throughout the seasons. A key component of Hindin’s work is the transmission of knowledge to a new generation of aute-makers. She uses Instagram (@nikaugabrielle) to connect with an international network stretching from Indonesia to Hawaiʻi. She will be present at the Art Fair most days pounding aute, asserting the place of customary practice within contemporary art, and inviting visitors to engage in knowledge exchange in te reo Māori or English.
Image: Nikau Hindin, Te Wheiao II, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.