Spaces to talk

I keep thinking about making bigger things again lately. This time I’d like to build spaces that we can have conversations inside of. The spaces and made with what we have, stuck together, home made, using skills gathered together and taught by our friends, strangers, parents. There are bits that don’t fit together that well, but we need to find a way to connect them. There are bits that feel ugly, but we put them in the light and talk about them anyway. There are offers, and courage, and acknowledgement of the difficult truths, the ones we are uncomfortable with. Structures that are like the conversations we need to have. We put it all in, because we want and need to. Because hiding things never works out. Our responsibility, our shame, our hope. All woven together.

These images are from ‘The way you have held things’, commission by Te Puna o Waiwhetu, Christchurch Art Gallery. Building this piece changed and affirmed how I understand my job as an artist. It was collected from the ways I saw people holding their homes together after the earthquakes. The experiences people told me about. We built on a site that a home had been removed from. People watched us through their kitchen windows, and walked past. I wondered, as always, what will they think, does it seem like art? Especially the woman who watched all week, I worried what she thought. @felicitymilburn the curator, invited locals, and at the opening, I got to find out. They came, we talked, and cried, and that woman, she told me yes, that’s just what it was like, you got it. I got to see how valuable it is to have our experience reflected in a physical way. How artists can be in service to communities, listening, care taking, reflecting, checking, sharing back, and creating spaces for conversations.

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