Craft renaissance: The relationship between past and future

Lisa Reihana, detail in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015–17, Ultra HD video, colour, sound, 64 min. Image courtesy of the artist and New Zealand at Venice.

The June 2021 issue of Garland will consider the relationship between past and future.

A key thread in the Garland journey was the revival of museum artefacts. In settler-colonial societies, cultures displaced by colonisation were preserved as objects in the shelves of museums. Today, a new generation seeks to revive the skills needs to make these objects. This brings the culture to life and reintroduces the object into everyday life.

An underlying principle is that “the past is in front of us”, which is an outlook found in many Moana cultures. This has its parallel in the Western concept of “renaissance”.

For many, craft offers a chance to return to a better world which is more in harmony with nature and individuals are connected to each other through a shared culture. Movements like re-wilding advocate us to turn back to the past. This contrasts with the modernist drive to break with the past and embrace the future.

This issue gives us a space to question whether we go back or continue forward.

Image Lisa Reihana, detail in Pursuit of Venus [infected], 2015–17, Ultra HD video, colour, sound, 64 min. Image courtesy of the artist and New Zealand at Venice.