First published on 23 June 2020
'He Tohu' at Jhana Millers, Wellington
He Tohu connects four emerging Māori artists and considers the relationship between whakapapa, place and symbolism. While Tohu has many meanings, in this context it is taken as a sign, a symbol and as a form of guidance, or a suggestion of an alternative world view.
Held in conjunction with Matariki, the works are drawn together through the context and history of navigation, and using Tohu to guide that process. Traditionally this may have been tohu found in Te Tai Ao or the natural world, such as using the stars to guide waka across Te Moana-Nui-a-Kiwa or awaiting the rise of Puanga or Matariki to symbolise the beginning of Te Tau Hōu Māori (Māori New Year).
Whether invoking the atua Tāwhirimātea, challenging colonial taxonomy, reviving historic traditions, or delving deeper into mātauranga Māori and the Maramataka, this exhibition is multi-layered and challenges us to consider what is hidden amongst the Tohu.