The canoe prow was a mutual form that became the basis of several pieces in this exhibition. The devilfish or octopus is named for its dark and powerful reputation for grabbing hold of a canoe and pulling it into the undersea world. This sculpture has tentacles weaving and flowing up the prow of the canoe form.
This sculpture recalls an old Maori story when Kupe went out with his men fishing in their waka (canoe) in Hawaiki. The bait on their line was always taken by small octopus (wheke). The main culprit was a huge octopus and was the pet of a man named Muturangi. Muturangi would not listen to Kupe’s pleas about stopping his pet octopus enticing the other octopus to the fishing ground. A tohunga (priest) told Kupe that he must kill the octopus or they would never have success fishing. Kupe and his brother-in-law pursued and eventually caught the octopus in a strange new land — this is how Kupe discovered Aotearoa — New Zealand.
Collaboration for the Fire & Water: Pacific Visions in Glass and Jade exhibition, 2007.
Collaborations between great artists are historically rare, despite frequent attempts and enthusiastic interest to bring technical skills and artistic chemistry together. In the end, it often seems that personal careers, distance, and other issues make these projects too difficult to realize. What makes this particular collaboration even more remarkable is that the two artists are geographically in different hemispheres — almost at polar opposites of the world.
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