The 2013 Matariki Exhibition at the Poi Room in Newmarket, Auckland (New Zealand) had the Resolution Theme. Kirsch created three kinds of large prints on hand made paper. His work draws on elements from several different cultural traditions either in visual or abstract content as well as in the chosen technique and medium: NZ Maori, Japanese, German, and NZ/GB English to name but a few. Many of these have a personal relevance to the artist – connecting to his cultural background and the various cultural lineages surrounding him today in his rural/coastal Coromandel.
What is resolution to people – what’s the purpose, aim, desire behind making a resolution? What is the actual meaning of the word, in the usual sense, but also in its contemporary use like hi-res/low-res, or even medicinal, in that something gets better?
Matariki is suitable to become the key occasion of this time of year – our very own New Zealand New Year celebration. The rich Maori traditions and close connection to the land and environment that Matariki offers are a far more inclusive and wholesome approach to all of life than to celebrate the distant Queen of England’s Birthday at this time of year. After the Pacific voyagers arrived nearly 1000 years ago, the British/Europeans brought with them the second big wave of culture and greatly shaped our society as a whole. However current new arrivals and influences from many traditions around the world keep enriching Aoteroa NZ’s culture every day, so that the British link becomes less and less significant.
To formulate our very own, contemporary take on Matariki as a celebration that ultimately replaces the Queen’s Birthday and allows space for all traditions while being closely connected to the local environment will be the way forward.