FRIDAY Fast Five: Loyalty inside my DNA

Kia ora Friday whānau. We made it. This week I’ve had ‘DNA’ by Kendrick Lamar stuck in my head due to a particularly fun time I had last Friday evening at the opening for Maureen Lander and Fiona Clark’s new exhibitions at the Dowse, which I’ll get to soon. The show has inspired this week’s Fast Five so I implore you to ponder on whakapapa and the marriage and movements that led to us being here. We made it.

1. Flat Pack Whakapapa and He Iwi o te Wāhi Kore

These are the two new shows that have opened at the Dowse, one from senior Māori artist Maureen Lander and the other by acclaimed photographer, Fiona Clark. Through Bridget, I had the immense joy of meeting Maureen, and she’s such an engaging woman. Her work similarly so and I’d implore you to get along and check it out for yourself. The photo above is of Bridget and I playing in the ‘diy DNA’ work, shout out to Jagoda from the Dowse for the creative direction and photography. Oh and shout out to Bridget for the idea in the first place.

The second exhibition is of photography from around Taranaki and looks at the impact of confiscation and environmental degradation, it was a powerfully emotional moment to be at the blessing. My late koro (mum’s dad) is from Taranaki but we’ve only ever been back those ways a handful of times. When he passed in 2013, and my mum shortly after, the already tenuous links to a place I don’t know very well felt almost broken. I know we like to talk about how whakapapa can never be broken, and I’m lucky to say that this tension isn’t due to malicious circumstances, but the connection still feels unresolved. Being in that room and seeing photos of people that looked like my Koro Jim made me feel so sad but also grateful to be among them. Anyway, the photos are beautiful and you should check them out.

2. City Hall weddings

Speaking of ‘marriage and movement’ (that was a line pulled from the write-up I did for the ‘Namesake’ show at Enjoy Gallery for Pantograph Punch by the way, it closes this weekend and you should go check it out!), I really enjoyed this series from photographer Daniel Arnold of weddings at City Hall in New York. Such a huge range of celebration represented here, it makes me saaaah happy.

3. Sisterhood struggle

This was a frustrating listen from the generally very good BBC Radio 4 Seriously podcast about the divisions within feminism. Not once was the word ‘intersectional’ uttered which just highlights how the feminism discussed therein is failing WOC all around the world. And to just reiterate how I feel about feminism: if it’s not intersectional then it means nothing to me. Given how whakapapa is a theme for this Fast Five, I'll share that it is my whakapapa that prevents me from getting behind mainstream feminism largely because the divisions that exist along race lines affect not just the women but also the men in my family. There’s no way I’d get behind a feminism that doesn’t acknowledge the way race is a weapon for oppression and I know that’s problematic but I’m not going to disavow the men in my family for women who don’t see that the issues that affect me largely affect them too.

As a palette cleanser one of my favourite podcasts, For Colored Nerds, has morphed into The Nod and they’ve just released their latest episodes. All I’m going to say is that the first episode features an investigation into Beyonce/The Illuminati/exclusive audio from *that* elevator ride. Oh gawd it’s so good.

4. Ngā Ringa Toi o Tahu

One thing I’m loving about the post-settlement era of iwi professionalism is the way in which iwi are using the tools of te ao marama to communicate to their people. This series of videos of Ngāi Tahu artists is particularly great watching. If you’re perusing the Ngāi Tahu site you may also notice that their latest magazine has crowd favourite Marlon Williams on the cover, who doesn’t love a bit of Marlon?

5. Cliff Whiting

It’d be unfeasible to finish this week with anything other than the passing of Cliff Whiting, a maunga of a man who I never met. However, coming across his work, his whakaaro and the impressions he left behind I am ever grateful for the lessons he gave us all. Here is a post of personal whakaaro related to Cliff from some Te Papa staff and a post from Objectspace: “Wherever we are on the river, we are part of the river.” Moe mai rā e te rangatira.

And thanks for the title Kendrick Lamar: