Pēpi Hā

Pēpi Hā is a multimedia collaboration between siblings Tīhema, Māhina and Matariki Bennett (Te Arawa, Ngāti Pikiao, Ngāti Whakaue, Ingarangi). As a whānau they have merged together their respective practices of music composition, interdisciplinary visual arts, and spoken word poetry.

Matariki’s poem creates her own piece of art to keep our whanaunga’s memory alive for our whānau. It’s also a commentary on the mixing of genes and cultures within our lineage, and a reminder to herself and siblings to appreciate both sides equally. Our parents documented our childhood on video, so we can go back in time to live, and relive growing up. In these home videos, there’s footage of our whanaunga who have since passed. The sense of loss in watching the videos is outweighed by our whanaunga and their memories kept alive for us. In a whānau collaboration, Pēpi Hā is a response to what these videos hold.

Māhina has created a double layer silk visual artwork embodying the mana of her sister’s poem. This work creates space to position ourselves as individuals and as a whānau both ā tinana and ā wairua, connecting with our whenua, tūpuna, whakapapa and whānau. This is also expressed in visual reference to the natural landscapes of both sides of our whānau, in the maunga and roto of Rotorua and Loch Ness in the Highlands of Scotland. The materiality of the silk considers adornment / kākahu / cloaking oneself in your whakapapa. Pēpi Hā comes to life in its interaction with the whare, breathing with Tāwhirimātea, and illuminating with Tama-nui-te-rā. Playing with what’s hidden and revealed, and publicising the private, detailed elements of the work reveal themselves over time.

When composing the soundscape for this piece, Tīhema explored the concepts of landscape and the depth of water in connection to the roots of lineage in our whānau. This idea is reflected in the deep bass tones and contrasted with breathy high textures that represent wind and the new generation.

Pēpi Hā is a physical embodiment of our relationships as a whānau, and how we position, ground and centre ourselves in our combined heritage and whakapapa. This work is a deeply personal whānau collaboration as brother and two sisters, and together we have bound the strands of music, words and visual art to create a multi-sensory art journey.

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  • Te Timatanga 34
    Pepe Ha
  • Pepe Ha 2
    Pepe Ha
  • Te Timatanga 35
    Pepe Ha

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