Ko te Tauutuutu ko te utu atu, ko te utu mai. Ka hāngai hoki ki te whaikōrero, te tū atu te tū mai a te tangata-whenua a te manuwhiri, te kawa o Tauranga Moana, taku kāinga tipu.
Ko ngā mea hoko, he korikori, he inenga wairingi, he rauoro rakuraku, he pikitia, he tānga kahurangi, he akoranga waiata, he whātoro poitarawhiti, he whakaahua ahu-tengi, he nama waea, he kōrero pukapuka, he kati rongoā pirepire, he waiata whakaari hoki. Koinei ngā mea, ngā mahi, ngā mātauranga hoki nā ētahi ringatoi e iwa i hoko mai i te Indigenous Visual and Digital Arts Residency 2016 i te Banff Art Centre, i Kānata.
Nā tēnā nā tēnā ringatoi tāna ake reiti-utu i whakatau, he mea wero i taku āhei ki te utu. I tā māua ko Ange Loft (o te iwi Kahnawà:ke) whakawhitinga Nipple Stretches, i noho mana ahau ki a ia i te kore āhei kia orite te utu atu kia orite te kounga o te pukenga i homai. I tā māua ko Jackson Polys (o te iwi Tlingit) whakawhitinga 3D Portrait, e tatari tonu ana ahau kia kite i te hua a tā māua whakawhitinga. I whakaaetia e au kia whakaahuatia taku ūpoko hei whakaahua ahu-tengi māna. Ngā korikori a te ringatoi Salote Tawale nō Whītī i tō māua whakawhitinga Sorry kua waiho mā te marea e whakatau. I tā māua ko Suzanne Kite (o te iwi Lakota) whakawhitinga Hotline Bling, i whakatinanahia e ia ngā tau akoranga wairingi tawhito, nā, i utua e au ki ngā rauoro-rakuraku ki tētahi waiata rorotu o Kānata.
E whakaaturia ana e ēnei whakawhitinga ā-iwi ngā takonga o te ōhanga koha me ōna reiti-utu mā te whakaatu i ēnei āhuatanga iwi taketake o nāianei.
Tauutuutu is a term for reciprocity. It also refers to the kawa of whaikōrero where speakers alternate between the home-side and the guests, as practiced where I am from, Tauranga Moana.
Dance moves, violin scales, guitar chords, drawings, cyanotypes, vocal lessons, netball stretches, 3D portrait sittings, phone numbers, readings, leather poi, beaded medicine bags, and songs from musicals. These are the objects, practices and knowledge I exchanged with nine artists during the 2016 Indigenous Visual and Digital Arts Residency at The Banff Art Centre, Canada.
Each artist I traded with determined their own rate of exchange, challenging my abilities to reciprocate. In the exchange Nipple Stretches with Kahnawà:ke artist Ange Loft I came away indebted, unable to trade on a similar level of quality and skill. In 3D Portrait with Tlingit artist Jackson Polys, the extent of the exchange remains to be seen as I gave permission for my head to be photographed and developed into a 3D model for his use. The dance moves in Sorry were exchanged with Fijian artist Salote Tawale and it is open to audience judgment as to who cut better shapes. In Hotline Bling Lakota artist Suzanne Kite drew from her years of classical violin training to which I reciprocated with the guitar chords to a Canadian pop song.
These cultural exchanges explore the obligations of gift economies and embodied exchanged rates through the portrayal of multiple contemporary indigenous realities.
Understanding the rituals of encounter
Insufficient facts always invite danger - Spock. Star Trek, Season 1, Episode 24: “Space Seed” 1968
Reciprocity is an idea, a practise, an understanding that traverses dimensions of both space and time. Here Bridget Reweti exchanges the sacred guitar chords of her people. Chords perfected over crates and pints, in front of fires and across kitchen tables. Lakota artist Suzanne Kite drew from her years of classical violin training. The ground where these rituals of encounter take place is specific; not only within the physical location but also within the atmosphere which, at that moment is saturated with the Canadian radio waves personified by Drake’s Hotline Bling.
- Text by Intergalactic Māori
Landscapes have become a hallmark of Bridget Reweti’s practice, serving as a medium of exchange and indigenous sovereignty. In her moving image work 3D Portrait, Sleeping Buffalo Mountain (Banff, Canada) becomes the site of exchange for Reweti and Jackson Polys (Tlingit, Ketchikan, Alaska/New York).
The work documents two acts of reciprocity; Reweti gifts permission for Polys to photograph her and in return for his participation, Polys retains ownership of material garnered from this ‘sitting’ to create a three dimensional portrait. This contemporary exchange between the two indigenous artists toys with the layers of complexity, and contradiction, embedded within historic portraiture.
Nineteenth century Māori subjects of portraiture, whether in paintings or photograph, had no comparable control over their likeness. While some portraits are predicated upon a fraught history of power imbalances between the indigenous sitter and the artist, in some instances, these lasting portraits have become a portal for indigenous descendants to remember and revere ancestors.
- Text by Ane Tonga
Through the medium of dance, and to the faux-apologetic soundscape of Justin Bieber, Bridget Reweti and Fijian artist Salote Tawale exchange the fundamentals of whakapāha.
“You gotta go and get angry at all of my honesty”
One way to dispute your complicity in oppression is to shift blame to that of the oppressed. It is easy to undermine somebody’s intelligence if you portray yourself as the rational antithesis to their angry irrationality. Perhaps you should think about why they are angry at your, as you say, ‘honesty’.
“…But you know that there is no innocent one in this game for two
…Can we both say the words and forget this?”
Whatever the level an apology comes at - Crown, government, grovelling Justin Bieber – it is not the oppressor’s place to dictate how their apology is taken or who is to remember what. Pain is embedded in whakapapa, it is remembered and passed on. There can be no buts in sorry.
“I'm not just trying to get you back on me, oh no
'Cause I'm missing more than just your body”
‘Polyswagg’ is the dance style popularised by choreographer Parris Goebel who has defined it as “combining sassy woman fire with aggressive inner strength.” Use the fire in your belly as fuel, be unapologetic that you are in charge of your body.
- Text by Matariki Williams
Take the vocal boat
Take the vocal boat
Fine, introduce yourself to time.
Kia ora. Khwe.
Now, give me your leg.
Thanks! I’ll sneak it through customs. You said I should be more spontaneous!
Actually, I said ‘Leave home. Be home?’
Yeah, we exit. The door sneezes us. But we’re the portal! Get it?
So... ...can I have my leg back?
Well, yeah. You might be the biggest bear in Banff, but technically I need it more than you.
I guess [laughs].
In the 'cultural exchange between Ange Loft and Bridget Reweti vocal stretches meet netball stretches. Ange Loft is a multidisciplinary artist with a background in theatre from Kahnawake in Mohawk Territory (Montreal, Canada). For a time Ange thought Bridget was proposing nipple stretches rather than netball stretches. What a mate!
- Text by Rachel O’Neill
When we speak to each other, read to each other, there is another conversation that is happening.
We are swapping words but our minds are giving each other a hongi.
I acknowledge you.
Even when our languages are different, any attempt to understand what another person is saying is a soulful gesture.
I as a human want to communicate with you, another human.
Just as we can open our minds at a lingual exchange, so too can we close ourselves off.
You do not speak my tongue – how can we communicate?
Those with the colonial tongue slowly stopped listening to the silent conversation.
Some of us forgot our ancient and eternal selves.
Forgotten but never gone.
This verbal exchange between Bridget and Leuli is an ode to language.
It is a re-awakening.
Language is not just words just as a conversation is not just speaking.
I acknowledge you.
My language is my strength.
Tōku reo, tōku ohooho,
Tōku reo, tōku māpihi maurea
Tōku whakakai marihi
- Text by Faith Wilson
Bridget Reweti (Ngāti Ranginui, Ngāi Te Rangi) and Nadia Myre (Algonquin of Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg First Nation) have exchanged email and phone numbers with a promise to keep in touch. They have emailed once since parting and Bridget has lost the piece of paper with Nadia’s number. If Bridget finds it again 00 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of New Zealand, 1 is the international code used to dial to Canada. There are multiple city/area codes in use for Montreal. If 514 does not work, she may try the others. The area codes used are: 514/450/438. X is the placeholder for Nadia’s local number.
If Nadia calls Bridget 011 is the international prefix used to dial somewhere outside of Canada, 64 is the international code used to dial to New Zealand. 4 is the local area or city code used to dial to Wellington. X is the placeholder for Bridget’s local number.
- Text by Ahilapalapa Rands
ᐅᓗ ULU UTU
Ulu: I come from Sikusiilak, now called Kinngait, Nunavat, from Sanna our sea mother and from Anirnialik the great spirit. I come from their sediments and silt and wrinkles of age, their breath and gleams of light. I come from the skinning-sewing-knowing of women. I am steel and caribou antler, slate and sunken wood. Like my grandmothers, my aunts and my cousins I have shapeshifted at times. Through my work I sing back to them. Listen. They are all around. We are Ulu.
Utu: I greet you, Ulu. I come from another sea, from Tauranga-moana, Aotearoa, from te ao Mārama – and from elsewhere. I come from the unbroken line of memory, fluctuating but unbroken. From the ceaseless alchemical reinventions of our mother Papa-tū-ā-nuku. From her matters. Oxblood. Iron. Potassium... I come from patterning-remembering-knowings. From mattering-marking-knowings. Look, here are my ancestors now, mingling with yours, still wearing our marks of blue. I come from celestial accountings. Measure of all measures. We are Utu.
In exchange for a drawing of an Ulu by Inuit artist Nicotye Samayualie, Bridget Reweti traded a cyanotype of Nicotye and her son Norman.
- Text (excerpt from longer text) by Cassandra Barnett
When Bridget asked Tamara Himmelspach of the Saddle Lake Cree Nation to participate in a cultural exchange, Tamara cast her mind back to significant songs of her childhood. Before long the brisk sound of barking Elks began to reverberate through the mountains and a thumping electric guitar resounded from the valley below. These mingled and begat the opening bars of Sweet Transvestite; Tamara had her song of choice. In response to this most generous gift Bridget did too look to the mountains where the soft lyrics of Doe Rei Mi descended down the gentle slopes toward the pair. Bridget scooped up the song which had landed so gracefully at her feet and offered it Tamara through the gift of her honey laden voice.
- Text by Terri Te Tau
If life is art, then is art about art really about life?
Creations with a utilitarian function are not art. They are design. Even when lovingly made by hand they still serve a utilitarian function. Alas we still cannot call that an art. We call that craft.
To be an art, an object or act must serve no functional purpose, other than the proposition of the object/act itself. Duchamp’s Fountain, detached from its plumbing served no utilitarian function, other that the proposition of the object itself. Therefore, art.
When I look at this project between Oji-Cree artist KC Adams and Tauranga Moana artist Bridget Reweti, I note that the objects presented within the exhibition conform to this strict definition of art – as my Western eyes perceive it. Moving image and photography. Art.
In these works a simple transaction occurs, whereby an offering of a single beaded poi made by Reweti is exchanged for a beaded medicine bag filled with tobacco by KC Adams. Neither of the objects exchanged are art, nor are they physically present within the exhibition space. The distinction between art and craft/design has been upheld.
And while my University art-trained mind ponders the currency of such an exchange, both in terms of the personal and cultural value of the act (art, tick), and I consider the historical significance of the bead and tobacco as the first and foundational items of trade between First Nations peoples and their colonial counterparts, my Māori eyes simply yearn to feel the beaded medicine bag and smell the warm tobacco inside. They are absent from the sterile white gallery. There is no word for art in Māori.
- Text by Reuben Friend
 Chiricahua Apache art historian Nancy Marie Mithlo states in her 2012 publication No Word for Art in Our Language?: Old Questions, New Paradigms, that there is no word for this strict Western definition of art in most First Nations languages.