Tohu

Robin Slow & Brian Flintoff

Music by Bob Bickerton

1  – 26 September 2018

Tuia ki te rangi

Tuia ki te whenua

Tuia ki te ngakau o nga tangata

Ko te mei nui

Ko te aroha

Tihei Mauri Ora.

 

Tohu: A mark, a sign, anything serving as a reminder, a token of

rememberance, to save, to spare………….

 

Tohu surround us manifesting before and through our differing senses. Presented as a-tinana (physical) and wha wairua (spiritual) appearances, patterns, actions, sounds of the surrounding environment encompassing the seen and unseen, the ora and the mate.

They may be visual aspects as the positive and negative forms, the colouration, the pattern both natural and created, or the sounds that click, cries, calls, sings, talks and breathes.There is the smell of the whenua (land), the moana (sea) and the hau ora, the taste of the wai (water) and kai(food). It is of the mind, the tohu thinking that connects us to the tipuna of old and recent who have in turn tried to impart knowledge through the interpretation of them.

This series of works takes some of these traditional tohu, be it in the form of the composition, the patterns created or the creatures and tangata represented to enhance and inform and even produce tohu for the understanding of others. It explores the past and present to produce another tohu and that is the sign towards the future. It looks at familiar tohu and new ones encountered as the ancestors travelled south from the central Pacific Islands to Aotearoa. Some of the new beings encountered like the kotuku and pounamu were so special that they became tohu of a special new homeland.

The Putatara, an essential means of making announcements, modified with a wooden mouthpiece in Aotearoa where the large shells the travellers knew were no longer available. The tohu of the familiar was here and by the adaptation of joining trees and shells, the children of Tangaroa, the Sea God and Tane, the God of the Forests, to make it better, it could also be used to tell of the mythical peacemaking between these atua, who were often in conflict, and thus it becomes a tohu for people.

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