Hā Arapeta Ashton
Blue Oyster is pleased to present Hā, an exhibition of new work by Moana Nui a Toi-based artist, Arapeta Ashton. Hā explores ways of seeing and understanding Parakiekie through the creative process, from a plant—kiekie—through to its final form as kākahu. Through their embodied knowledge and familial practice of whatu kākahu Maori and by sharing this knowledge, Arapeta aims to restore mana to the kākahu.
Hā, both as the exhibition title and action refers to the breath of life, in this instance giving life and warmth to the kākahu and in return, its reciprocated action to the wearer. Arapeta’s practice acts as an activation of whakawhanaungatanga, connecting people through sharing matauranga māori with the aim of upholding and celebrating ngā toi Māori in a contemporary framework.
Arapeta Ashton is a takatāpui artist based in the vicinity of Te Moana Nui a Toi in Whangateau, Aotearoa. They are of Kahui Ariki whakapapa and connect to many ahikā across the motu. Through their longstanding whānau practice of whatu kākahu, Arapeta as a kaitiaki explores ways of seeing, expressing and states of being as an indigenous maker through contemporary art. Their practice has taken them internationally to research at the British Museum in England, and on to the Smithsonian Archives in Turtle Island. Arapeta is currently researching an MFA through the Elam School of Fine Arts in Tāmaki Makaurau.