Ella Reweti – 'Te Pura', 2023
My Nan says there’s lots of stories about our guardian in the Wairoa river – our taniwha, Te Pura. Few people, even back when she was a girl, had ever seen it, though sometimes her Mum would tell her stories about a big eel, with a white band around the middle. That’s how she knew it was Te Pura when she saw it for herself.
Inspired by the story my Nan tells of her childhood encounter with Te Pura, this sculpture embodies the essence of our taniwha lore. Individually pressed porcelain scales evoke whakapapa, symbolising ancestral ties, their interlocking pattern signifying generational unity, akin to chapters in the taniwha's own existence.
Te Pura hints also at the transience of mythical beings, echoing the fragility of our link to both them and nature. This work speaks to the need for a relational conceptualisation of the environment held within these narratives and the importance of safeguarding this knowledge for future generations."
Ella Reweti is a ceramic artist living and working in Naarm. Ella also whakapapa's to Ngāti Ranginui and Ngāi Te Rangi iwi in Aotearoa (New Zealand). Recently Ella has started to reference this whakapapa through her artistic work by exploring traditional weaving and carving techniques and how these can be applied using modern techniques and materials, such as porcelain.
Everyone’s heard of a dragon
Curated by James Lemon and Bobby Corica
11 November 23 – 27 January 24
Material: porcelain, brass wire, brass mesh
Dimensions: approx. 20 x 10cm