Essential Household Items explores the way that different types of domestic objects are desirable as holders of family memories, for subsequent generations. For Te Tuhi’s Project Wall, the still-life photographic series by Louisa Afoa juxtaposes antiques that her mother has purchased with the intention of passing down to her daughters, alongside everyday objects from the family home that hold countless memories for the artist.
Having grown up visiting her favourite grandmother’s house and looking into the china cabinet, Louisa Afoa’s mother had always thought she’d perhaps have one of these delicate ornaments passed down to her, to eventually pass on to her daughter, Louisa. Although this never happened, Louisa’s mother, over time, collected pieces of china for her daughters to inherit.
For Louisa, Crown Lynn swans are not what comes to mind when considering the treasuring of family memories through inherited objects. Instead, a block of wood which doubled both as a butcher’s block and seat for toddlers at the table, a can cut in half to peel taro and other everyday household objects are more imbued with a sense of memory from their frequent use in the family home and hold more importance to the artist as inheritance, than ornamental china objects do.
Set against a backdrop of tea towels and using the conventions of still-life photography to juxtapose the objects that she and her mother treasure for their memories, the artist opens up questions around intergenerational differences in the objects through which family memories are recalled and valued.
About Louisa Afoa
Louisa Afoa (Nofoali'i, Pākeha) is an artist and educator living and working in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Her art practice responds to lived experiences as a way to comment on social issues, while also giving insight into the lives of the communities that she belongs to. Afoa’s recent 2021 group exhibitions include Ocean Memories, Kunsthalle, Hannover and Sāmoan Hxstories, Screens and Intimacies II, A Space Gallery, Toronto.