The Ripeka Pae and Purehuroa series engage audiences in an immersive field of interactive light that reflect customary lattice-work patterns and narratives from tribal houses while politicising bi-cultural commitment. The work is inherently reflective in its construction and seeks to reflect a genealogical imperative through the structural configuration of neons and reflective surfaces; one that has its origin in the Te Ao Marama narrative of light emerging from the darkness; enlightenment displacing ignorance.
There is also a politicising imperative in the selection, orientation and framing of graphic elements of diamonds, crosses and circles infused with a chromatic reflection of colonial heritage (red, white and blue) and a lamentation for lands loss. The [+] is often implicated in some form of addition while laden the burden of sacrifice and salvation when framed within the ethical zeal of Christianity, notwithstanding, its legacy as a coloniser of the mind.
The [X] becomes an ambivalent signifier with both negative and positive meaning; an error in judgement as a pupil; a crossroad sign; a signature of assent on the Treaty of Waitangi covenant; a cross-stitch in customary latticework signifying ancestors who have become stars in the night sky. In this sense, it is a reminder of obligations to maintain mana whenua, mana moana and mana tangata; the dignity of being human within this land and the waterways that are Aotearoa New Zealand.
Robert Jahnke's exhibition is now showing in our Sidespace area within the Auckland Lightworx Gallery. The exhibition will end on the 6th of July.