MY CHOICE: Areez Katki / May 2023
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MY CHOICE: Areez Katki / May 2023

May 2023: Areez Katki

Each month a member of our community is invited to browse our online collection and select six of their favourite artworks. Each My Choice selection, together with personal responses to the works, will be available to view on the Sarjeant Gallery website for one month at a time. The May 2023 My Choice has been selected by artist Areez Katki and is available to view until 31 May, 2023.

Areez Katki was born in Bombay/Mumbai, India in 1989. He is a multidisciplinary artist & writer whose practice explores his genetic heritage and landscape through embroidery, tapestry, weaving, beading, painting, printmaking and sculpture.

Katki’s work addresses the social constructs of spirituality, identity and sexuality while, at the same time, raising questions about the political nature of craft itself. With a background in Art History Katki proudly proclaims his role as a craftsperson within the realm of contemporary art.

Katki is the current artist-in-residence at Tylee Cottage, where he will be based until July, 2023.

See Areez’s selections on our Explore the Collection ‘My Choice Exhibition Series’ highlight here and below:

Areez’s Choices:

Sandy Adsett, Tane and Tama Uprooted, 1985 (1985/27/1)

“Though I haven’t had the pleasure of viewing this artwork in person, I feel drawn to its immediately recognisable narrative links to works from Dr. Sandy Adsett’s 2021 survey exhibition ‘Toi Koru’ at Pātaka, as well as his masterful contributions in ‘Toi Tū Toi Ora’ at Toi o Tāmaki over 2020-21. Both felt like well-overdue acknowledgments of how Aotearoa might benefit from listening to and (re)viewing its cultural framework through Indigenous experiences, which have long been subjected to fragile colonial impulses that subjugate and silence histories of erasure and violence, the effects of which are prevalent today following the conversion and upheaval of Māori spiritual, linguistic and cultural practices. Paintings like these offer a powerful cue for those conversations around the dominant culture that, however uncomfortable, individuals and institutions alike mustn’t be afraid to have today.”

Wi Taepa, Ipu “Waka”, 1999 (1999/28/1)

“I feel particularly drawn to the ways in which form was executed through a transposition of an ipu (container traditionally made of flax or gourd) through a new material (clay, whenua) that holds a deep cultural and phenomenological significance across Māori cosmology. The ‘Waka’ form and title of this ipu by Wi Taepa is both broad and generous: I am drawn to his use of raku and a lighter clay slip that has been applied by hand, leaving grooved traces both outside and within the vessel. The notion of a vessel that signifies this metaphorical hybridity is appealing to me because of the ways in which it connects cultural practices to broader themes of Aotearoa’s complex ecologies. This container, be it one used for storing harvested goods within the pātaka, or for transporting bodies across the awa, is a beautiful reminder of those relationships we have with nature.”

Tia Ranginui, Untitled (from Stolen Light Series), 2016, 2016/2/1

“Of the few Indigenous voices in Whanganui’s Pākeha dominated contemporary arts scene, I’ve had the pleasure of engaging with Tia Ranginui. During our kōrero, over what seemed like endless cigarettes and gin one evening at Porridge Watson, I began to wish there were more art practitioners and thinkers like Tia celebrated in this town, whose work bravely engages us with the palpable inequity in representation—where power is still socially, politically and economically held by the descendants of those who’ve systemically benefited from colonisation. Tia’s images can be read as reclamations of space, holding with them traces of Tangata Whenua cosmologies, with the occasional use of humorous subcultural mise en scene elements. This 2016 work by Tia presents a human body nestled among harakeke; I read it as a gentler proposal: to consider how an Indigenous body’s indelibly resilient connectivity with whenua still persists, in spite of the histories it has been subjected to. I cannot wait to experience more mahi like this.”

Matt Pine, Untitled, 1979 (1996/8/54)

“This is a development study of the actions map from Matt Pine’s Impressions on Gate Pā (excavations) from 1979, which was realised by the studio of Parekowhai in 2021. Of the three actions mapped as stunningly simple yet effective modes of communicating the embodied experiences of life in the fortification, this bridge indicates ‘crawling’ at the famous Bay of Plenty Pā, Pukehinahina, or Gate Pā, which was designed by Pene Tuia in 1864. My respect and awe for Pine’s lifelong mahi around spatial poetics has been expanding as I’ve slowly learned about and engaged with his working drawings in the Sarjeant Te Whare o Rehua collection.”

Matt Pine, Untitled, unknown (1996/8/70)

“However minimalistic in appearance, this work on paper is a developmental rendering for a later sculptural work that evokes rich affective qualities for me—particularly because of how I’ve come to interpret primary forms and notions of hybridity in my own creative practices. On one hand the dual circular forms atop a vertical strip of parallel lines evoke the rudimentary outline of column volutes from the Ionic architectural order—but why pause there, where so many eurocentric interpretations might? When the intended effects could very possibly also lead our minds to the phenomenology of natural motifs that conjure growth, balance and renewal, as often evoked through the iconography of kōwhaiwhai. I admire and enjoy very much these harmonious dualities, often gently coded, yet still effective and evident through Pine’s oeuvre as a pioneer of contemporary Māori vernacular.”

Matt Pine Untitled, 1972 (1996/8/76)

“I’m drawn to yet another Matt Pine work for my selection because of the plausible connections his working drawings hold (particularly ones like these from the 1970’s), which evoke a suite of watercolour diagrams that I’ve long studied from Thought Forms—a theosophical text co-written by Annie Besant and C.W Leadbeater in 1905. I often resist drawing unnecessary links between european art historic material and the underlying Indigenous belief systems that tend to run through practices such as Matt Pine’s. However, this time I feel compelled to pause and feel charmed by the possibility that he might’ve also been reading theosophical texts like these. Mainly because I’ve also found them useful over my practice, to cite and explore ways of looking at colour and form since my time at Blavatsky Lodge in Mumbai. Thought Forms was particularly fascinating because it theorises the affective qualities of colour, line and form—linking each with intrinsic qualities of human emotion that went on to inspire movements of abstraction across the globe.”

Past Exhibitions 2023