2019 - Present
skin references a history of selkie stories, found in many variations in the coasts and islands of Ireland, Shetland, Orkney, the Hebrides and other Scottish isles, Faroe, and Iceland. (Resonances can also be found in the epistemologies of other indigenous Northern cultures, and even in the story of Pania from the East Coast of Aotearoa.)
The story always centres on a sea-dwelling being, often in the form of a seal, who take human form on land with the shedding of their seal-skin (or cloak, or cap, or other form of covering). Most often, this being is a woman whose skin is stolen, forcing her to remain trapped on land - often in an unwanted marriage, and unable to speak. No matter the variation, the story always ends with the selkie returning to the sea.
In skin, I use the metaphor of selkie stories to consider connections between my tūpuna wāhine, ancestral mothers.
I respond to their journeys through and across the ocean, reflecting on the changes they faced and the identities they shed in leaving their homes for different, distant lands.
Hand-knit colourwork wool, 35mm film, iPhone video, poetry, screen-print on photographic images, watercolour, hikoi, ocean swims