Lissy Cole ✿ The many faces of Te Ao Māori


5 August 2021

Keri-Mei Zagrobelna is struck by the technicolour crochet wheku (faces) woven by Melissa and Rudi Cole, who live an equally colourful life.

Husband and wife duo Melissa aka “Lissy” and Rudi Cole share a colourful passion in life that is igniting joy within communities through their bright and inviting sculptural crochet art. The couple resides in Ōtāhuhu, NZ and has a studio space at Nathan Homestead which is just as vibrant as the works they create.

Seeing themselves as storytellers with a gift from their tūpuna they hope to inspire and radiate aroha (love) out to the wider world. The duo expresses a celebration of people and culture using neon and bright colours across a range of media from 3D large scale crochet installations.

“We see our mahi like a portal, it transports people to a joyful, nostalgic space within themselves where people are taken to a beloved memory of a nanny, or mum or aunty who may have crocheted them something special. Because the medium of crochet is soft, it breaks down barriers.” Lissy Cole

The “Ka Puawaitia” exhibition held at Corbans Estate is a fruition of their work where four wheku (carved faces) were created to demonstrate and express the joy that can be birthed from pain, grief or loss. Highlighting that joy can be a coping mechanism for life and giving gratitude to family and ancestors.

Seeing these works one can’t help but feel hit by the joy and love that has gone behind creating these innovative pieces offering a new view in which to express Te Ao Māori (Māori world view) values with a uniquely crafted, adventurous and heartfelt attitude.

Iwi Affiliations:

  • Melissa Robinson-Cole – Ngāti Hine and Ngāti Kahu
  • Rudi Cole – Ngāti Paoa, Ngāruahine, Waikato, Te Arawa, Ngāti Pahauwera,

Visit and follow lissy.cole

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