Tabatha Forbes: Ei Katu

16 May - 24 June 2017 Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga

Opening Speakers:

Teina Etches, Culture
Tabatha Forbes, Artist


'How we see place, how it has been marked and represented in a European context (notably contrasting an indigenous perspective) and how those aesthetics flow in and out of our current understanding and experience is at the centre of my practice. Taking an ethno-botanical perspective, the project addresses the importance of connecting people and place through the cultural use and value of the plants around them - notably reflected in the islands head 'ei / 'ei katu making. In Rarotonga, one cannot ignore the beauty and importance of the 'ei katu in the day-to-day adornment of women. All around the island different styles of 'ei katu seem to represent not only the availability of fresh flowers and leaves at a particular time of year, but have also adapted to include an innovative use of artificial flowers.


Significantly, some women have created their own styles or have their favourite 'ei katu makers. There seem to be 'ei katu for all occasions and the more I look into this practice inevitably, the more diverse it becomes. Every one of these 'ei katu has a story; it's not a finished or conclusive project.'  Tabatha Forbes.