The return path: Craft renaissance
Looping around the Garden of Stories is a path that returns us to where we began. Along this part are stories of past techniques that have been revived. What were museum artefacts lying dormant on a shelf can now become part of everyday life. They bring with them a sense of ritual, ceremony and connection across time that gives new depth to a contemporary life stretched thin.
A guiding principle comes from the Tongan philosophy of Tavaism, in which the past is seen as not something receding behind us, as presumed in Western modernism. The past is always before us, as explained by Tonga philosopher Tevita Ka’ili:
“In paradoxical ways, it is, in the Moana, symbolically thought that people walk forward into the past and, contemporaneously, walk backward into the future, both in the present, where the elusive, already-taken-place past and illusive, yet-to-take-place future are, and in the social process, constantly mediated in the ever-changing present. In historical ways, however, it logically follows that the past, which has stood the test of time-space, is placed in the front of people in the present as guidance, and the unknown future is located in their back in the present, informed by past experiences, with the past and future permanently negotiated in the conflicting present.”
Ka‘ili, Tevita O., et al. “Introducing Tā-vā (time-Space): The Birth of an Indigenous Moana Theory.” Pacific Studies, vol. 40, no. 1/2, 2017, pp. 1–17.
This path is associated with We Tripantu, the New Year of the Mapuche people which celebrates the return of the sun. It occurs at Winter Solstice on June 21, the shortest day of the year in the southern hemisphere.
James Tylor ✿ In search of mai - Prompted by the experience of foraging in Europe, Caitlin Eyre accompanies James Tylor on a quest to recover the taste of native Australian bush foods. Anying CHEN: Craft revivals in today’s China - The tenth talk in our Reinventing the Wheel series goes to mainland China, where Professor Anying CHEN discusses many projects by his university that revive traditional crafts across the country. Azadeh Yasaman ✿ A disorderly beauty - Our February laurel goes to Iranian weaver and fashion designer, Azadeh Yasaman, who seeks to give new life to the ancient beauty of her culture. James Tylor ✿ Kaurna tool kit - Our November Laurel goes to James Tylor for his re-creation of the Kaurna tool kit, reflecting the revival of cultural skills across the wider world. [Re:]Entanglements in Nigeria - Nigerian artists Jennifer Ogochukwu Okpoko and Dr RitaDoris Edumchieke Ubah are inspired by colonial photographs to make new textile work drawing on the heritage of uli body and wall painting. Wissa-Sophy: Back to the woven garden - Passent Nossair returns to the refreshing gardens of El Harraneya in Giza, Egypt, where she learns the remarkable story of Wissa Wassef, whose belief in the inner creativity of children helped build a weaving workshop of international renown. Kamunez ✿ How the kiekie girdles Moana - Mele Tonga Tamanilo celebrates the traditional Tongan waist adornment known as kiekie by inventing new designs and introducing new eye-catching materials. Nikau Hindin ✿ A star compass that makes history - Ngāpuhi and Te Rarawa artist Nikau Hindin created an installation Kāpehu Whetū, Star Compass at Auckland's Maritime Museum. This work uniquely draws on traditions of navigation across Moana with unfinished business from first encounters with European colonists. Kyoko Hashimoto ✿ the Musubi necklace - Kyoko Hashimoto's Musubi necklace is a striking example of how a Japanese craft technique can help us appreciate the local quality of another country, in this case the sandstone that defines the Sydney basin. Liziqi ✿ China’s craft princess - "Nowadays time goes by so quickly that we yearn for Li Ziqi’s lifestyle." The story of Liziqi tells us much about the wave of interest in China's traditional culture today. Mikio Toki ✿ Edo kites keep hope afloat - Our pursuit of beautiful and thoughtful objects can take us far beyond the gallery. From kite-maker Mikio Toki, we learn that art taken to the skies can be a powerful way of giving thanks. Why a Japanese lacquer master sought a surfing legend - Lacquer is a gift of the ancients that is largely forgotten today. Sachiko Matsuyama is convinced of its value not just for its redolent surface but also as a bond between people and nature. She finds an inspiring future for lacquer in the work of Takuya Tsutsumi, in partnership with an Australian surfboard maker. Fresco comes to the mountain - Sarah Tomasetti has transplanted the Italian technique of fresco to create works that honour the mountains that help us find a place in the world.