Mahiriki Tangaroa – Signals in the Stars 2.

Mahiriki Tangaroa, Signals in the Stars 2. Oil on canvas, 1500x650mm, 2022


From the exhibition Kaveinga – Angels of the Ocean
Personal Structures
April 23-November 27, 2022
Venice, Italy.

“Governed by the Ocean, we are a small island nation vulnerable to the tropical elements, intense sun, rain, rust and corrosion. Majestic volcanic mountains embrace us, so to the land that we continue to inherit from our ancestors. Sacred enclosures and celestial spheres are the underlying currents that dictate our existence. Our customary belief in spirituality has been transformed into the western concept of religion.

Our ancestors traversed the expansive ocean to secure and maintain relationships. Traditional history links us to the East and West of Polynesia. Chiefly titles, linguistics, shared iconic deities and sacred landmarks are proof of this connection. As seafaring people, navigation was critical to our livelihood, to reunite with neighbouring tribes and family, to seek and settle new lands. The skill and knowledge of the Navigator was held in the highest regard. The ability to read the constellations of the stars, patterns of the ocean, and ominous signs in the weather, ensured safe passage on what was an often uncertain journey. The legendary ancient ocean god, and god of fertility Tangaroa, (Ta’aroa,Tangaloa, Kanaloa in their different dialects) is recognised as the senior of deities throughout Polynesia. Worshipped to promote longevity of the tribe, he also ensured safety on both land and ocean.

This exhibition examines and explores our traditional Polynesian history. How, for a millennia, we voyaged across the Pacific Ocean, the battles that were fought, the alliances that were made and the empires created to sustain and further strengthen the health and livelihood of a people.”  Mahiriki Tangaroa.