The great ocean of Kiwa, 2021
Te Moana Nui a Kiwa—the great ocean highway. Tuffery weaves together a navigational compass of moon cycles, constellations, frigate birds and glorious ancestors.
Chiefly figures bear clubs and dance paddles, equipped for battle, ceremony, or celebration. Their radial feather headdresses recall the armature of birds’ wings and fish fins, suggesting motion and opening conduits to other realms, while moon phases and illuminated birds evoke finely shaped whale ivory. Both recall the iconography of elaborately incised and inlaid Tongan clubs (pōvai), so numerous they are the most common of all Polynesian objects in 18th century collections, yet so individual they often bore their own names and amassed their own mana.
The great ocean of Kiwa may be vast, but it is intimately known.
—Writer, Dr Billie Lythberg