Safe Haven – Te Āhuru Mōwai

Safe Haven – Te Āhuru Mōwai

This exhibition by artist Sydnee Murray, explores the perception of sheltered havens and what is hidden from view. While Te Āhuru Mōwai – is a calm place or safe haven, Sydnee is aware that a home, a house or shelter may not appear on the inside as it is on outside.

 ‘’he kokonga whare e kitea, he kokonga ngakau e kore e kitea”

This whakataukī is central to Sydnee’s mahi. It expresses how we can see the corners of a house, but not corners of the heart.

For Sydnee, this is similar to the saying, ‘don’t judge a book by its cover.

As she worked through this project, Sydnee considered and recognised that one person’s perception of ‘home’ is very different to the next. For example, a humble hut with an outside wharepaku might be a castle to one man, as much as an enormous mansion with marble floors might be to another.

“The materials, the location, the size, the level of ownership, who you live with – all have an impact on the feeling of safety, comfort and ultimately happiness within your home. Essentially home is where the heart is!”

Sydnee’s mahi incorporates corrugated iron and paint, the materials we use to create and coat our shelters, and keep us safe and protected from the elements, but she also uses raranga, literally weaving steel into her works.

By combining traditional Maori patterns and time-honoured building materials Sydnee is not only drawing attention to the strength of her mediums, but the strength and riches of culture and tradition.

Te Āhuru Mōwai is a series of work that has been made with support from Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology and will be on display at the Rotorua Lakes Council from Thursday 6 May until Tuesday 15 June 2021. The Galleria is open Monday – Friday from 8am until 5pm.