Fanua in the beginning, 2021
Fern fronds unfurl in deep reds and browns, the colours of seaweed—mana moana. We live on islands fished from the sea.
Michel Tuffery is a diver and explorer, finding whakapapa in the flora of land and ocean. Branches reach forwards into the light and backwards into darkness, recalling deep waters and forest shadows, connecting Te Ao Marama with Te Pō. A tessallating single band of manulua (‘two birds’) binds together the creativity of the world of Tangata o le Moana with the world of ancestors, bringing birds to fly between light and night skies, bearing the messages of the gods.
Fanua in the Beginning is the universe birthed vigorously into being, each branch a family, a new beginning.
—Writer, Dr Billie Lythberg