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Tia Barrett’s observational learning journey is now underway in Te Wai Pounamu (South Island of New Zealand) starting with a collective Hikoi (walk) from Waitaki to Aoraki. The essence of the environment —the appearances, sensations, and sounds of specific moments and weathers significant to her during the hikoi are recorded.
Later this Summer, Tia Barrett will noho wānanga (occupy meeting/discussion) on ancestral land and document the climate crisis in Wairewa Roto (Lake Forsyth) in Te Wai Pounamu. Currently, Wairewa Roto is grappling with severe flooding and polluted waterways. Historically, before European colonisation and deforestation, this land and waterways were renowned for their abundance of kai (food), ngāhere (forest), clean water, and wildlife.
Through walks, videos, and community dialogues, Barrett aims to explore the question: "what pūrākau (stories) from our past can we draw upon to benefit the future of our whenua (land)? And how can toi Māori (Māori arts) serve as a means to translate this message into action?"
Ngā mihi nui to Paemanu Ngāi Tahu Contemporary Visual Arts for the organization of the hikoi (walk) and providing the artist residency opportunity.
About the artist
Tia Barrett (Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Mamoe, Waitaha, Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tamainupō) is an emerging Māori moving image practitioner and photographer based in Kirikiriroa, Hamilton, New Zealand. Her current art practice is firmly grounded in celebrating mana wahine Māori identity (Māori women's rights) and deepening her connection to whenua me o ngā tūpuna (land and ancestors) through a lens-based practice.
Barrett is also on a journey of reclaiming her indigenous Māori language through the art of sung Māori poetry, mōteatea, and incorporating this medium into her contemporary lens-based practice. Barrett’s most recent original mōteatea composition is embedded in her work He Pounamu Ko Āu, which was an outcome from her MVA thesis. Barrett holds a Master of Visual Arts from Auckland University of Technology. She is a 2023 Te Tumu Toi Arts Foundation Springboard recipient and recently received the 2023 AUT Blue Award for this year's Creative Individual Performance of the year.