Mandy Joass recently graduated from the University of Canterbury with BFA in sculpture. Her full-time art practice also includes printing, painting, ceramics and illustration.
East Coast elder Apirana Ngata explained Whakapapa as 'the process of laying one thing upon another'. The oppositional direction of warp and weft combine many smaller elements to create a fabric, larger and stronger than the individual strands.
Joass’ inter-woven ancestry traces back to both Ngāpuhi and the first European settlers. She uses weaving as a metaphor for the overlapping and integration of these two cultures. The contrasts and tensions created by using disparate materials such as harakeke and aluminum, or granite, steel and korokoi, for example, speak to the complex push and pull of this ongoing, ever evolving relationship.
The multi-directionality of the six pointed cross form, speaks of the non-linear nature of Māori Toi, ancestry, whanau and spirituality, and emphasizes points of intersection and departure. The form plays visual tricks as the angle of view changes. Just as accounts of our cultural history change depending on the viewpoint.