Te Waiora - a Christmas connection in Auckland
There’s no snow or Santa in artist Charlotte Graham’s stunning Christmas installation at Auckland’s Britomart precinct. The brief was to reflect a southern hemisphere summer festive season and the result is an evocative ground-based piece winding its way through the nine Britomart blocks.
“Our brief to Charlotte was to create a work for Christmas that moved away from reindeer and holly imagery and introduced a southern hemisphere visual vocabulary to celebrate the season,” says Britomart’s Jeremy Hansen. “Other than that, we left the creation of the work entirely up to her.”
Te Waiora is made up of 24 hand painted water drops - repeated and printed onto 1200 decals and stuck to the pavements.
Charlotte wanted to emphasise the idea of Christmas as a time of connectedness: between whānau and friends, between people and land, between past, present and future. She says she chose water as a motif because of the way it refers to the maritime histories of Māori, Pākehā and Pacific peoples, as well as Aotearoa’s many immigrants.
“My constant over the years of making works is that that they are around land and people, whakapapa, indigeneity,” Graham says. “It’s us looking back, honouring the past, moving forward, and acknowledging all of that.”
She adds that because Britomart sits on reclaimed land and the Waitemata water used to flow over the site it made sense to use the ground as her canvas.
She says she’s hugely gratified with how the installation is being received - Charlotte spent three days installing the work with a team of people and loved how passersby were eager to know and understand more about the work.
Te Waiora will be in place until late January and limited edition prints of each drop are now available.