Key people involved:
Visual Artist Zarahn Southon (Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
Model/ Performer /Choreographer Moss Te Ururangi Patterson (Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
Kaumatua Alieta Paekitawhiti Hall, Hugh Southon, Te Ngaehe Wanikau ( Ngāti Tūwharetoa)
The Tongariro series is a period of intense research, development and creation of a new series of both charcoal sketches and oil works inspired by my ancestral connections to the Tongariro regions and landscape. Exploring physical relationships within the geography of the Tongariro basin are the basis for working within this specific terrain. This area has ancient connections to my Tūwharetoa whakapapa and I hope to capture essences memories by exploring the visceral relationship I have to the landscape of my ancestors.
I will be collaborating closely with my whanaunga and professional choreographic artist Moss Te Ururangi Patterson searching for a visceral movement language which can either balance or juxtapose the environments I will work from. Working together for long periods of time in the Tongariro National Park will allow us together to develop a series of charcoal sequences which will form the basis for a set larger oil works as one of the key outcomes of the period of residence in the Tongariro rohe.
Key parts of the project will be to visit and sketch out multiple sites that have informed my identity as a Māori artist having grown up in Auckland city but with deep emotional ties to our marae and kuia and kaumatua who currently reside in Turangi, Tokaanu and the wider Tongariro National park.
This project also allows me to reconnect to earlier inspirations I received as a child from my grandmother Rowena Irihau Southon who was a prolific landscape artist having sketched and worked mostly with oils most of her life. Our family was raised in a small community called Kuratau up the hill from the current township of Turangi and her works an artist were mostly created in this landscape. This project will allow me to be supported to explore the emotional and physical relationship I have to the landscape that has influenced my career and my trajectory.
The opportunity to develop this series I believe will have long lasting effects on future pieces and will create a solid foundation for a longer period of study and output even though the project will be completed in late September. Apart from a multitude of working drawings I believe I could achieve a minimum of at least 10 quality sketches laying the foundation for a further period of oil works.