Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Tanya Ruka

By Kathryn Tsui

whiriwhiri-ā-rōpū is a selection of current and previous moving image works by visual artist Tanya Ruka that weave together in a continual visual conversation. Māori weaving and carving patterns are the fundamental structures within Ruka’s moving images that are visually composed through repetition, mirroring and multiplication.

Ruka’s art practice makes visible unseen spiritual and ancestral connections to land and place. The artist says, “The source of my creative process is Wairua (spirit); the inherent interconnection between the whenua (land) and tupuna (ancestors).”

Ki runga ki raro (2012), the linear projection work, translates as north and south or up and down is shot on ancestral land in two locations, Waipounamu, South Island and Hokianga in Northland. Ruka who initially trained as a painter, uses painting techniques to experiment with this familial footage, building layers, concealing and revealing certain elements of the screen that in turn play with the dimensions of the gallery. The resonating sound track is 3 generations of the artist’s family singing the word whenua (land) in different parts.
Ruka describes her filmic subject as catching the performance of the landscape as it unfolds. The work presented on the LCD screen, Takiwai (2011) required the artist to sit in the landscape for days. In these extended single framed shots, she collects the lyrical moments in the landscape, equating the movement of windblown grasses as brush strokes on the land. 

In Ruka’s most recent work, kaitiakitanga: ki runga ki raro (2012) she observes the role of guardianship, filming the protestors in the Aotearoa is Not For Sale march against the government’s proposal to sell public assets.  Again images are arranged with the visual principals of Māori weaving and carving patterns as Ruka wanted to look at the situation from a Māori perspective.

As an artist Ruka continually returns to Māori concept of time, space and place where past, present, future coexist. She says, “This installation is a coming together of my work - a visual conversation past present and future, like the Māori phrase i nga waa o mua from times in front. It refers to walking backwards into the future with our ancestors our history in front of us.”

Artist Biography
Tanya Ruka (Ngapuhi, Waitaha nui tonu) graduated from The University of Auckland with a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 2010. Since graduating Ruka’s video projections have featured in national exhibitions and international film festivals including the 5th Indigenous International Film Festival. In 2012 the artist completed a Master of Art and Design at AUT and plans to study further and apply for a doctorate.

No comments:

Post a Comment