TODD SHERIDAN ARTIST is currently working on a new project!


Pou Whakarae

Papaioea Art Project 2014 - 15


This project was initiated late last year and was to focus on three key aspects:

1.Papaioea site - Hokowhitu Campus.

2.Location – visibility.

3.Reflect values of TWoA as a Tertiary Provider.


Given the 'Core Values' of Te Wananga o Aotearoa, whakapono, nga ture, kotahitanga and Te Aroha, the idea of the Pou Whakarae, or 'Main Post' within the Pā Tūwatawata came to mind. Early records show this pou, which was a majestic towering pou, held huge significance to the Iwi. Earlier depictions describe the pou whakarae as a central post that was formed resembling that of a humanistic form. Over time these became more intricately carved and detailed. It is with the simplistic form of the whakarae that this 'Pou Whakarae' takes it's design from.


Looking at the pou from the base formed from recycled heart rimu connects to Te Waonui-a-Tāne, and one of his many majestic rākau that proved to be material of exceptional quality for the craftsmen. This was traded and shipped worldwide and is now very much in short supply.


Keeping simplicity as a guiding principle a search for wood which was already imbedded with natural whakarei, surface design, was initiated. The result was this section of an Elm Tree. This piece was more than I anticipated and exemplifies the true beauty of natural timber. The ring markers, grain, reflect the topographical location of the surrounding veil of mountain terrain, namely the Ruahine and Tararua Ranges. They also reference the works of the late John Bevan Ford, my tutor at Massey, and Buck Nin, both giants in the Visual Art world.


The torso form is simply that, a torso. The sections creating the form, legs and midsection pay homage to the old Rangiātea Church in Otaki and the huge windows that graced the historic church. This form is replicated in the external 'kauri' sections where they symbolically inform the viewer that the hands/arms of the form are searching – enlightenment, knowledge, clarity, affirmation.


The two central cast glass forms depict that old pou whakarae that stood in the deserted, often abandoned, ancient pā. They were significant sentinels then, and they are just as significant today. The design form 'carved' into the glass is the whakairoiro, the pathway that the mokoroa, the hūhū, the pūriri, the iro, or whichever insect it might be that carves it's own design forms within the tree itself.

The colours, red – chiefliness, green – earthliness and clear – Mindfulness. The four sections reference the core values of TwoA and the piece as a whole is us, the student, standing tall, proud, tū kaha, tū pakari i to rātou ao ahakoa te aha.


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