Land otters were transformational supernatural creatures of great mystery. Their villages often had friendly fires burning on the beaches to lure lost canoes and then they would kidnap their occupants into their world. Shamans considered them a source of power due to their ability to flow between land and sea. Shamans would put themselves into periods of strict isolation in order to attract the land otter which would approach and drop dead at the presence of powerful shamans — the tongue would be cut out and used as part of the shaman’s medicine bundle. The glass form captures the sinuous forms of both the lizard and otter.
The mokomoko (lizard) is regarded by most iwi (tribes) as a kaitiaki (guardian), a messenger from the spirit world, bringing warnings of imminent danger and often death. Like the otter, the mokomoko has a similar sinuous movement and has the ability to move with ease from the land into the water.
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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