Her other work, Loss and Acquisition (top image), examines a life lived through the keys in one’s possession. “Keys reveal all sorts of information about their owners – places one has lived, assets and interests….what one values….they may even disclose unwelcome secrets” she says. While Jones enjoys making larger vessels, she enjoys open casting small units, which can be displayed on walls in multiple groupings, often suspended away from the wall, which encourages an interplay of shadows.
Raewyn Roberts. Synergy, Aspects of Dislocation series, 2004
Gaffer crystal glass, lost wax cast, sandblasted, polished.
2 pieces, each 300 x110 x 120mm. Private Collection.
Photo: Leigh Mitchell-Anyon. Courtesy Sarjeant Gallery.
Raewyn Roberts’s work, ‘Dual Identity in a Changing World: Te Ao Hurihuri,’ is wonderfully bold and vibrant. Roberts believes strongly that art has the potential to be the best mediator between Maori and Pakeha and between the multi-cultural dimensions of contemporary Aotearoa/New Zealand society in the 21st century. Of mixed descent (Scots and English as well as Maori), she talks of returning to her grandmother’s marae in 1990 for the nationwide 150th anniversary celebration of the Treaty of Waitangi – “a hostile rather than an embracing experience for me,” she says. “Looking like the ‘other’, the dominant culture, as one no longer visibly Maori, it was apparent to me that a shift in consciousness would be essential for any personal resolution of issues about my dual identity.”
Raewyn Roberts. Reconciliation, 2008-2009. Gaffer crystal glass, lost wax cast, sandblasted, acid-etched, polished. 3 pieces, each appx 220 x 300 x 60mm. Photo Leigh Mitchell-Anyon. Courtesy Sarjeant Gallery.
Roberts says she has been “developing personally relevant and appropriate ways” within her glass practice, “of portraying these issues working towards a culture of change.” Synergy, 2004 is part of her first series, ‘Aspects of Dislocation’ and uses the symbols of three tines, which traditionally represent birth, life and death “and specifically here, my Maori heritage juxtaposed against the shining, highly polished European piece.” Roberts says her post-graduate studies led her to question the relevance of constructing an identity based on the concept of biculturalism. “We are all of us here and we are not going home. Assimilation has blurred the boundaries in contemporary society: how brown-skinned and culturally-connected does one have to be? Under the white exterior beats many a brown heart,” she concludes. Looking Glass: reflecting ideas continues at Sarjeant Gallery until March 14, 2010. www.sarjeant.org.nz