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Exhibited in Strands, The Dowse Art Museum, Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt, curated by Melanie Oliver

With this cluster of works, Ana Iti weaves together narratives around the challenge of learning and retaining indigenous language; sharing tangential stories that reinforce the importance of te reo Māori. In the video the camera follows the torchlight of a walker as they ascend a pathway through Brooklyn park in central Wellington. Surrounded by darkness, it conveys her feelings on the journey of learning te reo.

Made from clay earth, the wall text opposite relates to the unconfirmed story of a printing press that was used in the nineteenth century by the kingitanga movement to share news with supporters around Aotearoa. The press was discovered submerged in the Waikato river sometime later, with type letter forms dispersed throughout the riverbed. Another instance of early te reo Maori printing involves some unique letter types that were developed by morphing letters of the English alphabet, splicing two together to create new letters that could represent te reo Māori pronunciation and dialects. These stories of early printing in Aotearoa, the point at which Māori oral culture was translated into written form, reveal the shifts between spoken, written, and printed text.

Alongside, Ana has invited two other indigenous artists to consider their relationships to language and place. Dean Cross is a Worrimi man from Canberra, and presented here is a sound work featuring his whistled rendition of a magpie call.

Three translations of a story have been given by Ciwas Tahos (Anchi Lin) for the exhibition: in Mandarin, Atayal and English. Anchi is from Taiwan, a descendent of the Atayal people, though Atayal language is spoken by few now. Her story tells the journey of migration from the mountains to the cities, and the point at which the Atayal people took divergent paths.

- Melanie Oliver, Senior Curator, The Dowse Art Museum
Like everywhere, words come one foot after another, letterforms carved into sand and bentonite clay, Matauri bay clay and text, single-channel HD video, colour, sound, duration 9 mins 50 seconds. 

With contributions:

Pinksban Story from Ciwas Tahos [Anchi Lin] (Atayal)
Printed text on A4 paper in The Atayal language, Mandarin, and English

dialogue (gur-ru) from Dean Cross (Worimi)
Audio recording

Also pictured in install view, Parakiekie by Arapeta Ashton