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Spectacle of water and moving image for Matariki

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

This Matariki, a constellation of artists led by two Massey University academics are creating a unique cinematic experience on Wellington Habour’s lagoon.

Mana Moana is a collaboration between musicians, artists, writers and choreographers who have produced five short art films fusing poetry, dance, song, painting, photography and animation. But instead of a traditional film screen, these films will be shown on a screen of projected water.

The water screen - a feat of engineering - propels millions of water drops that fall and catch the light, creating an illusion of images that appear from the darkness and float on water. This allows Mana Moana to explore its themes of ocean, migration and diaspora.

The project is curated by Massey School of Art staff members and artists Rachael Rakena, Kāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi and Michael Bridgman, with producers Storybox.

Ms Rakena, a well-known artist whose own work frequently uses water, says having the films screen in this way affirms the project’s kaupapa.

"These films explore indigenous relationships and identities with the ocean. As we grapple with climate change, our futures will be linked in new ways. Water is connective tissue - the seas connect us all between the islands of the Pacific - and Mana Moana is literally projecting its stories on water.

"In the face of our climate emergency this work is timely and relevant," says Ms Rakena.

Ms Rakena paired artists from different disciplines together, to cross-pollinate and create wholly new works.

Visual artist Robyn Kahukiwa’s paintings are animated and partnered with text by Massey graduate Tina Ngata, Dayle Takitimu and Michelle Ngamoki.

Massey graduate Dr Karlo Mila’s poetry is complemented by Michael Bridgman’s animated patterns, while fine arts doctoral graduate Dr Johnson Witehira’s contribution makes waves across three of the projects.

Louise Potiki Bryant has worked with dancer Rosie Tapsell with music by longtime partner, Paddy Free, and Massey music lecturer Warren Maxwell’s music links the films, threading its way through the sequence.

Ms Rakena says the outdoor experience audiences will have is going to be a "a bit of magic".

Mana Moana runs nightly from Friday, June 28 to the Wednesday, 3 July from 6-9pm- at Wellington Habour’s lagoon. The screenings are part of Wellington City Council’s Matariki ki Pōneke 2019.

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