“The simple form of the hue (calabash) had many uses as a container, among them the ability to transport water with relative ease. Its function in domestic life was perhaps featureless; however, it still played a vital role in the day-to-day routines of village life. Here, the hue is interpreted as a vessel of knowledge. Knowledge is passed from one generation to another. Out of this knowledge wisdom is conceived, and then empowered by the spiritual connection that lies within the land and surrounds the ethos in which we humans reside.
“In this piece, the concept of “knowledge” is likened to water and the sculptural aesthetic of the hue form is used to visually convey this message.
“I have endeavoured to introduce a reference to mata kupenga (stylization of the fish net) within the glass surface that directly relates to the attainment of knowledge. These design elements, known as kowhaiwhai ngutu kaka (reference to wisdom), complete this piece. The elements symbolize the interconnection of cultural knowledge and wisdom that, when woven together, empowers our existence and contributes to the inuititive nature of humankind.”
(Executed by the Pilchuck Glass Team: gaffers Blaise Campbell and Jen Elek; artist assistants Jessie Blackmer and Joe Benvenuto.)
Roi was born and raised in Southland province in the South Island of New Zealand, although his whakapapa (genealogy) is the Te Mahurehure hapu (sub-tribe) from the Hokianga in Northland on the North Island. In 1983, he received a three-year apprenticeship to the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in Rotorua, where he learned to carve with the adze and chisel and graduated with honours. He has carved on four whare whakairo (carved houses), which fuelled his passion for perfecting the technical aspects of his art and led him to learn about the ideology and spiritual aspects of carving.
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