Hawaiki: Nigel Borell

Hawaiki has long been regarded as the homeland of Mäori.

In this painting installation, Borell explores the concept that Mäori may have had their origins prior to that,  in wider Oceania and Southeast Asia, a theory proposed through scientific investigation.

Borell explores the theme of cultural connections through a series of large scale paintings, using such things as plants and food sources as metaphors to discuss the inter-relationships between people, places, cultures and countries.

Many of these items have been widely used in both Mäori and Asian art independently of each other, which lends support to the origins of Mäori from this region.

 

 

For example, the whau (also known as New Zealand mulberry, 'corkwood' and 'evergreen lime'), is found in the North Island and also in Hawai'i and Hong Kong. The gourd  is often used in kowhaiwhai (customary painting) to allude to family ties (whakapapa), likewise it has been used in artmaking for centuries in Chinese and Southeast Asian cultures to signify the same.

Borell's use of materials and painting techniques have been carefully chosen to reiterate these explorations.