Māori (Ngāti Hako) / Sāmoan (Matautu Lefaga, Vailoa)
Sculpture / Photography / Drawing
Postcards Unlocked #17
Kia ora tatou,
My name is Ash and I am a sculptor based out in West Auckland and have ties to Hauraki and Sāmoa. I am quite a sentimental person and often hoard and collect objects / images to keep memories physically present and near me. I am one of those people who will read books over and over again to catch that fleeting first feeling, draw reiterations of one thing – be it a stone or a mountain – until it “feels” the way that I feel about it, or spend time on google earth virtually walking streets I grew up in and even visiting my favourite childhood dairy via the interweb. I think that these obsessive and nostalgia-chasing tendencies are why I make the way I do and always feel so connected to my works and the places where I work.
My process usually starts off by visiting places of significance, being present and listening, documenting space and phenomena through photography and drawing, and then bringing it all back to studio to recreate through hard material sculpture. I talk a lot with my nana and aunties to gather stories – mythological, personal, and historical – to understand that the importance of these places extend far beyond myself.
My ancestors travelled insane distances across the Pacific to settle on these Hauraki wetlands and mountains. My Māori Nana swam in the same Whiritoa waters I would swim in as a child on my summer holidays. My Sāmoan grandparents took a chance in the 80’s and flew to Aotearoa, finding West Auckland’s Rānui where we currently live. Grandad still grows hibiscus and taro in our yard to keep his own memory of home close-by.
These experiences are never-ending, reflective, and are all grounded in the places which bind us.