08 Aug 2022
Practising alongside indigenous arts and artists in Vancouver, Canada was a life changing experience for emerging artists Bridy Lundon (Tainui, Ngā Puhi) and Tai Sadler (Taranaki).
As recipients of Creative New Zealand’s newly-established pilot programme, ‘Ka Rere’ and with support from the Te Hā o ngā Toi, The Māori Arts Strategy, Bridy and Tai were selected by Māori arts leaders, Sir Derek Lardelli and Rangi Kipa to attend the Meymey’em Indigenous Arts Gathering at Emily Carr University, Vancouver, Canada.
Caption: 1. Tai Sadlier practices turning fish skin into leather. 2. Bridy Lundon stretching elk hide over a drum form. 3. Bridy Lundon and senior Māori weaving practitioners Matekino Lawless and Tina Wirihana 4. Tai Sadlier and Sir Derek Lardelli.
“I was absolutely fortunate to be given an opportunity where I was able to represent my culture internationally. I was fortunate to have my tutors pave the way, to lay down a foundation and create a space where I am able to be myself and keep doing what I love doing,” said Bridy.
“I learned a lot from everyone there; I learned different ways to express art and lots of different techniques to help me expand and diversify my skill base and knowledge. Some of the highlights of this trip was going to Whistler, as it opened my eyes to the amount of creativity and freedom we have as artists looking at all the different carvings, paintings, sculptures, etc. I also talked to a few of the Canadian guys one on one and learned more about the indigenous history and culture and got to know them better,” said Tai.
Inspired by the gathering, Sir Derek Lardelli penned the following composition that likened the gathering to an ebbing flow of indigenous artistic creativity of the highest calibre that uplifted one’s soul.
Te wai o Rua-i-
Pūmau rawa e
Ko te waioranui
me te wairua!”
Creator of the Ka Rere initiative, Creative New Zealand’s International Indigenous Exchange Adviser, Tawera Tahuri was thrilled with Bridy and Tai’s participation.
“Both showed maturity and sophistication beyond their years. They engaged in student presentations to the public and assisted in rituals of encounter and other protocols of engagement. I know that they were selected by their respective mentors for their artistic ability and were also able to deliver in cultural exchanges with respect. Tai and Bridy presented differing skills and experiences, but both will have experienced an increase in their ability to exchange in an indigenous context as well.”
Meymey’em Indigenous Artists Gathering, Emily Carr University 2022. Photo: Tia Taurere-Clearsky
Bridy expressed her gratitude to be immersed among fellow indigenous artists and listen, learn and feel the stories. A memory that will remain.
“Kua mākona a whatumanawa ki te reo waitī e rāhiri nei mātou i te pūāhuru o te whare, o te kaupapa. Inā te āwaia o ngā tāngata, he iwi manaaki, he iwi māhaki. I ohorere anō ki te whārahi o ngā pūkenga me te rerehua o a rātou mahi toi. Nō ngā rā e rua ahau e whāwhā nei ki ngā awheawhe I whakaritea e ngā kaimahi, me te whakahoahoa ki a rātou. Nō ngā rā toru kōmuri ake, ka whakataha I ēra mahi mō tētahi wā poto, e pai ai au te noho ki ngā mahi waituhi hei koha atu ki a rātou. Ko te takotoranga o te whenua, ko ētahi takiwā, tōna rite ki a Aotearoa. Ka rongo I te aroha o tēnei iwi ki a mātou te iwi Māori.”
Tai shares about what this experience has meant to him.
“This experience has been an opportunity of a lifetime and has given me so much inspiration artistically, it has reminded how important culture is and it has inspired me to learn more about my whānau and whakapapa and where I come from. And being able to put that into my work and able to create art from it is so cool. I will never forget the people I’ve met from this experience as they were all very inspirational to me and taught me so much about art and myself. Once again thank you so much for this opportunity I was given.”
The Ka Rere programme continues through Creative New Zealand’s International Programme Initiatives with support being provided to emerging Māori Producers, Jordan Walker and Nathan Mudge who alongside mentors and senior Māori arts leaders, Tama Waipara and Dolina Wehipeihana will attend the upcoming WAA Conference in Calgary.
Image: Bridy Lundon and Tai Sadler Photo Tia Taurere Clearsky.