“Waka in a bottle”
Media: Acrylic on board
370mm x 130mm each
I have an interest in the voyaging waka stories and legends and wanted to explore an idea through my painting practice. In the 1898 Charles Goldie work “The arrival of the Maoris in New Zealand” they are depicted as starving and gaunt having found Aotearoa by accident.
I seek to present a different view of the voyaging waka as being sophisticated and technologically suited for the job. I am making the connection of astronauts exploring the cosmos with the Polynesian sailors exploring the pacific. The crews being Masters of navigation by sun, moon and stars.
The waka and crew had the provisions and skills to make the many journeys throughout the Pacific, in a sense the waka was similar to a spaceship, it was the transport but also the life-pod that sustained them. It carried all it needed for the voyage. The crew were well trained and skilled carrying the knowledge of all those explorers before them. As a kid I was fascinated with stars and space travel and how spacemen were seen to be pushing the limits of human exploration. I have transposed this childhood feeling of admiration and excitement to the voyaging waka’s and believe the ancient wayfaring methods have great relevance today as we seek to live a more sustainable future.