Whale Rider was the first piece completed for the exhibition and the initial concept of combining glass and jade, as well as testing the compatibility and possibility of the two mediums. Of course, the fact that both cultures share stories of their supernatural heroes being transported on the back of a whale was an obvious starting point to look at mutual shapes, objects, shared stories and histories that could trigger the drawing and shaping of pieces in this exhibition.
Maori history has ancestors who came from the sea riding on the back of a whale. The bond between man and the whale was so strong at times that they were considered one being. The collaboration with Preston in a way is much like the whale rider, taking two people, two ideas and two cultures intertwining the forms and design to create a body of works with one spirit, the spirit of the Pacific.
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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