Toy to the World Project

I like toys, and I especially like Teddy Bears. Last year, I joined the Toy to the World Project. Artists from all over the world have the chance to paint some vinyl toys (these ones were vinyl bears) and submit them to an exhibition and auction event in Melbourne.  The best thing about it, is that it is all for a good cause.  All proceeds go towards raising funds for research into HIV.

Sounds like just my thing. So I applied and sent away for the bears. And, naturally, as artists do, I spent aaages procrastifibulating over what to paint on them.  This is the first time I’ve ever painted vinyl toys, and I am definitely keen to try it again.

Tandem teddy painting

I painted both bears at the same time, one would dry while I was painting the other.   One became red and the other green. Apart from black, they are two of my favourite colours.  They were painted with acrylic paint, and then covered with a light varnish.
I gave the red bear an all over moko and the green bear the voices of the forest.  Both bears are meant to be female, and supportive to others who are ill.

Tetti Pea Tautoko

I nicknamed them the Tetti Pea Tautoko – Support Teddy Bears – and they reminded me of people who have supported me throughout the last year. Although they are not meant to be portraits of anyone in particular.  The korero in the speech bubbles on the Green Bear come from theories originally by Mason Durie. If you are interested in reading about  Māori health (hauora), I’d recommend “Mauri Ora“.



The Book Project

Earlier this year, I visited my two wonderful friends, Mon and Ben, in Palmerston North. While I was there, Mon had a little book and asked me to fill it up with drawings during my stay.  And I did!

I decided to continue with this wonderful idea, and upon returning home I resolved to make this Book Project.  It appealed to the bibliophile in me. This time, I chose a theme and painted a page a day, then photographed it using Instagram.  This enabled me to share it on my Tumblr and Facebook feeds.  Well, that was in mid-January and I finished the book a few weeks ago.  I have just finished putting together a slideshow of all the images I have painted.

The book is all based on karakia, which can mean prayer, incantation or spell, in Te Reo Maori.  While I was studying at the University of Waikato I came across many different types of karakia, and have applied that here. It’s good for me to keep up my reo, a little bit a day helps!

Karakia are meant to help you feel at one with the atua (gods) who are really personifications of the natural forces/elements in the world. It’s about acknowledging the other things in the world about you.  They are good resources of poetry and prose in Te Reo Māori as well.

There are many different karakia inside. Some are to Tane, some are to greet the day, a prayer for children, an incantation for strength, and one for Tangaroa as we bade farewell to summer. Then there is the finishing karakia, right at the very end.  Here are some of my favourite images:

This book project also combined my native language with art, one of my other favourite things.  If you are a creative soul, and you know how difficult staring at a blank page can be, I totally recommend a daily art exercise like this.  Painting or drawing a little each day really helps to warm up and get you started on your other projects.  And it’s a good way to learn some karakia too!

I am planning on creating another book, and that will probably begin sometime next month.

Mauri Ora!


Know Thyself

Early next year some of my work will be in a group show.
It is called ‘Know Thyself’ and is an exhibition with 3 other women artists.

The show will be held at ‘The Winemakers Daughter’, a local cafe and winebar at 88 Grey Street right here in Gisborne.

We will be previewing the show on Friday 6 January 2012 at 6pm. Wine and nibbles are provided so please feel free to come along.

Ma te wa, have a very Merry Christmas and I will see you all in the New Year.

Nga mihi o te wa me te tau hou.

Mauri Ora!