Quishile Charan and Salome Tanuvasa: Namesake

Enjoy Public Art Gallery
Wellington
Jun 28, 2017 to Jul 22, 2017

Opening: Wednesday 28 June, 5:30pm

Bringing together the work of Quishile Charan and Salome Tanuvasa, 'Namesake' explores the related ideas of lineage and displacement, developed within an atmosphere of friendship and close dialogue between both artists.

Matriarchal family figures are central to these investigations. In Charan’s case, she has produced textiles that pay tribute to her aaji (paternal grandmother), as both her own namesake and the person who first introduced Charan to the practice of textile making as an expansive knowledge system. For 'Namesake', Charan has produced a aseries of intimate works featuring designs based her aaji’s likeness, dalo (taro) leaves and a red hibiscus flower. These works employ a variety of techniques including screen printing, hand embroidery, laser cutting and embellishment. Some have been dyed with pigment from kawakawa leaf. Draped over a makeshift clothesline in the gallery, this method of display recalls an environment of learning and memory. Here, ‘a line’ doesn’t simply refer to a place to dry our clothes, it can also mean a succession of people, an inheritance.

Responding to the handwritten notes and drawings accompanying the list of numbers in her mother’s Warwick 3B1 phonebook, Tanuvasa's work—including drawings that resemble radio waves, wind, or currents in the water—infers movement and connection in relation to physical and technological environments. These drawings respond to the environmental noises heard on long distance calls to relatives living in Vava’u and Tongatapu: from familiar interference and delays on the phone connection, to the specific sound of wind in the trees. Tanuvasa also acknowledges the digital background for these conversations, where wireless service providers such as the multi-national Digicell have a very strong presence in the Pacific, capitalising on the high uptake of cell phone and data usage due to the high volume of communication between relatives living in and outside of the Islands.