Kōkōrangi ki Kōkōwai: From Celestial Bodies to the Earth
Red ochre, soot pigment on aute

Kōkōrangi ki Kōkōwai: From Celestial Bodies to the Earth series

Kōkōwai (red ochre), ngārahu (soot pigment) on aute (paper mulberry)
Courtesy of the artist and KADIST

This series of works by Nikau Hindin is based upon a renewal of Māori aute (bark cloth) forms combined with a fine system of graphic and striated markings that encode celestial charts of ocean navigation. Unlike Tongan koloa, the Māori bark cloth technique that Hindin employs was last practiced more than a century ago.

In order to revive the practice Hindin has studied under the guidance of native Hawaiian kapa (bark cloth) makers and master knowledge holders from Aotearoa: Dante Bonica, Verna Takashima, Maile Andrade, Wesley Sen, and Kaliko Spencer.

In addition, these works draw upon the parallel revival of celestial navigation and Māori astrology. Hindin has spent time studying the stars; sailing on the double hulled voyaging canoe Hōkūle’a, and most recently in 2018 on her first deep sea voyage between Norfolk Island and Aotearoa on Haunui waka. Based upon her experiences in navigating through star declination, Hindin prepared these works in which sheets of aute are inscribed as a star compass, divided into 32 whare whetu or star houses, and marked by the intervals at which each star rises and sets in a specific house.

Nikau Hindin is a contemporary Māori artist deeply engaged in preserving traditions and continuing the lost arts of her indigenous ancestors in New Zealand and the wider diaspora.

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