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23 May 2020 —
16 August 2020

Daren Kamali & Ole Maiava
– (UN)Registered Savages of Aotearoa:
Mata Makawa – Mata Vou

Ole Maiava - (UN)registered Savages of Aotearoa, Ulumate, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge (detail), 2019. From the research trip Mana Mai Moana, 2019, supported by Creative New Zealand. Courtesy of the artist

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Mata Makawa – Mata Vou presents the ongoing research into ulu cavu (Fijian human hair wigs) by artists Daren Kamali and Ole Maiava, together known as (UN)Registered Savages of Aotearoa. Begun in 2018, the artists’ five-year research into ulu cavu in overseas collections examines an ancient iTaukei (Indigenous Fijian) practice that has been dormant in Fiji for over two centuries. Ulu cavu were traditionally made during times of mourning, warfare or worship. Kamali and Maiava are attempting to revitalise this significant cultural practice in a number of ways. Daren Kamali began with cutting and preserving his own hair, which he had grown since 1997, and which will lead to the creation of a modern-day mourning wig. Presenting photographs documenting ulu cavu in the collection of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology in Cambridge, the United Kingdom, alongside masks, a masi (Fijian tapa cloth) and poetry, the artists render a contemporary activation of an ancient practice.