Kiwi Diary 2018

This great initiative from Wellington-based Entrepreneurs Annabel Wilson and Freda Wells to create a diary full of art, poetry, stories and recipes, features a contribution from me this year! To be able to write about my two loves – printmaking and cultural anthropology, and have it published, was a real buzz.

You can order online @ http://www.thekiwidiary.co.nz

“Cultural Anthropology examines and celebrates our shared humanity and the many different ways it is expressed around the world. It enables us not only to learn about how and why people think and live like they do, but ultimately to turn this gaze back on our own way of living to illuminate cultural differences and challenge what is perceived as ‘normal’. Through this process of discovery and reflexivity can come greater understanding, tolerance and strength in society. It also means that culture shouldn’t be seen as a static, rigid object but instead as a living, breathing entity, constantly evolving and adapting to it’s environment.

 This idea is central to my work, which is concerned in particular with the construction of collective and individual identities through a complex interplay between experience and memory. Often, commonplace, everyday objects are used as vehicles to represent who we are. For example, in Aotearoa, a rich array of objects form what we identify as kiwiana. Gumboots, the buzzy-bee, an Edmonds cook book, are all part of our cultural history, and although many of us may not even own any of these things, are still used as reference points to express our “kiwiness”. When objects become symbols they can become very powerful tools to connect groups of people, to inspire and mobilise. We are often unconscious about these symbols that occupy our space or have forgotten and re-invented the meaning of the ones we are aware of.   

With increasing globalisation and migration, I am interested in how these ‘objects as symbols’ are transplanted and respond to their new environments to create new transnational identities”.

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