Aotearoa, my Hawaiki explores the Polynesian Māori concept of Hawaiki. Hawaiki is the ancestral homeland and/or island where Māori people came from before migrating to Aotearoa (New Zealand). For New Zealand Māori people the actually physical place of Hawaiki is ‘Avaiki Nui’ (The Cook Islands). As an Australian of Maori descent I have always had an ideological connection to Aotearoa because it is the place where my Māori ancestors came from before migrating to Australia, so for myself a Maori Australian my Hawaiki or ancestral homelands is Aotearoa.
Growing up in Australia I always held a connection to the ideological meaning of Aotearoa "land of the long white cloud". As a child this meaning made me imagine a place where the mountains touched the clouds. This was a very different place to my home where I grew up in Australia that is mostly flat and with clear blue sky. This series represents my ideological connection to Aotearoa through my New Zealand Māori ancestry; although it also highlights my disconnection from the physical place or landscape of New Zealand due to not having grown up in New Zealand because my Maori family migrated to Australia so many generations ago.
James Tylor is represented by Vivien Anderson Gallery, Melbourne; GAG Projects, Adelaide; and Stills Gallery, Sydney.