A delegation of 15 faculty and doctoral candidates from the University of Waikato in New Zealand will be united with their colleagues and peers in the UC Davis Native American Studies for creative and intellectual exchange next month.
On November 2 and 3, faculty and students from the School of Māori and Pacific Development at the University of Waikato in Aotearoa, New Zealand, the UC Davis Department of Native American Studies, and the C.N. Gorman Museum will be coordinating a series of events in the Turtle Island Faculty & Doctoral Exchange, including faculty lectures on Indigenous theory and methodologies by Professors Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Leonie Pihama; a full-day graduate symposium; and an exhibition and artist presentations by University of Waikato Creative Ph.D. candidates.
“At the Gorman, we get to open people’s minds to new ideas about what native artists are doing today and to the issues that indigenous people and artists care about,” curator Veronica Passalacqua said. The museum is not bounded by geographic or temporal limits, but rather presents contemporary work from multimedia artists – both established and emerging – from across the world.
The work of four University of Waikato Creative Ph.D. candidates is currently on display in the Gorman Museum as part of the Patterns of Endurance show, which runs through Friday December 2 and exemplifies part of what is unique about the Gorman.
- Kahutoi Te Kanawa examines the innate skills and esoteric knowledge passed down through five generations of weavers. The creative practice replicates a very rare piece of weaving known as a Pukoro, to show how the application of weaving skills and knowledge is important to the survival of rare textile artifacts.
- Donna Campbell investigates the relationship between native materials and the maker – focusing on practices of weaving and other Māori fiber arts. Campbell stresses the embodied knowledge and cultural ways of knowing that connect the maker, native plants, and the artistic creation.
- LisaNa Red Bear’s work is rooted in intergenerational connections to earth-nature, creativity and holistic healing practices that are culturally relevant to Indigenous Peoples. Her pieces represent the sacred connections between deeply rooted family histories and indigenous healing practices.
- Tawhanga Nopera presents a subjective-autobiographical research project, conveyed through digital image, digital video, performance art and creative writing. Nopera writes, “I am a Māori artist who emphasises lived creative practice – where art-making is ritualised as daily habits of agency [and] allows a self-critical lens to help heal from stigma, discrimination and the marginalisation that manifests at the intersection of culture, sexuality and gender.”
The Turtle Island Exchange program also brings distinguished professors Linda Tuhiwai Smith and Leonie Pihama for a November 2 lecture from 6:00-8:00pm in 1150 Hart Hall. The academic works of Smith and Pihama have long been required readings within the UC Davis Native American Studies curriculum and this event provides an exceptional opportunity for faculty and students to meet in person.
Smith is a key figure in indigenous, feminist, and ethnic studies. Her book, Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (1999 and 2012) is a foundational text in social justice research methods. Pihama is Associate Professor and Director of Te Kotahi Research Institute at the University of Waikato and Director of Māori and Indigenous Analysis Ltd, a Kaupapa Māori research company.
The following day, November 3, Ph.D. candidates from UC Davis and University of Waikato will present their work at an all-day symposium (9:00am – 3:00pm) in 3201 Hart Hall and conclude at the Gorman Museum where the creative Ph.D. candidates will discuss their research within the exhibit. Davis is the final stop for the 15-member New Zealand delegation (who also visited University of Colorado Boulder and Arizona State University), but the generative intellectual exchange will continue across geographic space to strengthen the global ties of indigenous art and scholarship.
– Stephanie Maroney, DHI Graduate Student Researcher and doctoral candidate in Cultural Studies
– Photographs by Nicki Padar, DHI Student Photographer