This tactile desire to connect with objects and materials drew me towards Pacific and Māori weaving techniques.All Māori weaving; whatu, raranga and whiri (weaving, plaiting and braiding respectively) are done by hand and without loom.Given this, it is not surprising that much of my art practice has been centred on issues of post-colonialism and identity politics. I have a Bachelor of Arts (BA Fine Art), and a Master of Fine Art (MFA) both from RMIT University and majoring in Photography.I also currently teach Photography at Deakin University where I am completing my creative practice-led Ph D.Ko Tainui te waka Ko Taupiri te maunga Ko Waikato te awa Ko Waikato te iwi Ko Ngāti Tahinga te hapu Waikaretuu te marae Ko Kirsten Lyttle ahau My canoe is Tainui My mountain is Taupiri My river is Waikato My tribe is Waikato My sub-tribe is Ngāti Tahinga Waikaretu is the marae My name is Kirsten Lyttle When my family and I left Aotearoa (New Zealand) in 1980 to move to Melbourne, I was eight years old. For me, Australia was the place of summer holidays with grandparents; the place where my parents’ stories began.As a child, I went from being a known entity, a Māori child living in New Zealand, to an unknown exotic other in Australia, where my ancestry became (and continues to be) a guessing game.
The flat two-dimensional surface of the photograph is, through the process of dissection (literally being cut-up into strips) and re-assemblage (through raranga), being transformed into a three-dimensional Māori customary object.
For Māori, taonga (sacred objects or treasures), such as photographs, carvings, kete (baskets) and kete whakairo (woven patterned baskets), are touched, spoken too and embraced.
This occurs not only in ceremonies such as tangi (funerals), but in the realities of everyday life.
To begin with, I only photograph indigenous women with whom I have shared the koha (gift) of weaving.
This koha or gift of knowledge does not involve a financial exchange, but is rather one of cultural connectedness and understanding.