“I carve into my paintings textural lines… and that signifies or denotes Whakapapa…lineage… from the sky to the earth”
– Joanne Barrett
Our 5 Rangona: Sentience exhibition artists talk about Matariki, whakapapa and its important connection with their art practice.
Thank you Heidi Brickell, Natanahira Pona, Joanne Barrett, Ruth Woodbury (Raranga Creations) & Jermaine Reihana for so generously sharing your deep stories, teachings & journeys with us.
10 Quick questions with artist Louise Keen:
Beyond the Four Walls
1. Your artwork titles are often quite personal in nature (One day I will make you happy, 2019 and Prayers to my Beloved). Can you explain how the titles resonate to the works themselves, or how you come up with these titles?
Sometimes I title the work as it is being made. It is like I have a conversation with the work and the title comes out of that conversation. Other times it is when the work is finished it will speak to me.
2. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
My super power is one I inherited from my Grandma, she could untangle necklaces when the metal chain got all knotted together. I now have that same super power.
3. If you could master one tool, what would it be?
The paint brush.
4. Your work tends to focus on consumer products and the environmental issues that surround the Western world. Where do you find your materials that you use in your works?
I find my materials in the neighbourhood on my walks, gifted by family and friends and sometimes from Bunnings. Most of my materials are re-purposed and recycled.
5. Do you plan or map out your works before you begin, or do you let the work tell you what it wants to be?
My process unfolds while I am making. I could say it is expressive and spontaneous, a form of improvising.
6. What is the most important tool in your studio?
The most important tool is my sewing machine. My sewing machine is also my favourite tool because it belonged to my Grandma. It is a Singer Model 411G and was actually made the year I was born.
7. When did you first feel like a professional artist?
One day soon.
8. Which 3 artists (dead/alive) would you like to have dinner with and why?
Robert Rauschenburg, Picasso and Vivienne Westwood. Because of their creativity, life experience and style.
9. What advice would you give to a younger Louise starting out in the creative industry?
Don't let YOU stop you from following your dreams. Believe in yourself. Trust your instincts. Say YES to the opportunities that come your way. Don't beat yourself up when things don't turn out like you planned. And thank the people that help you along the way.
10. What does success mean to you?
It changes over time. I use to think that it was getting into a gallery and selling my work. Sure that would be great but it's not everything.
It is more about the relationships my work helps create and people seeing my work and resonating with it.
See Louise Keen's work here.