Collapsed Worlds

Dr Johnson Witehira




The artwork looks at the collision between the Māori and Pākehā worlds. Within the centre is a taratara element, the most powerful symbol in the Māori world. It is the place where the Māui, the powerful Māori demi-god, was crushed in his attempts to gain immortality for human-kind. In this animation the taratara draws in elements from the Māori and Pākehā worlds, carvings, sailing ships, and compasses, into the central void where everything is collapsed.

Working between graphic design, contemporary art, and toi Maori, Witehira explores how a Maori world-view and Maori narratives can be used to shape all aspects of art and design in Aotearoa New Zealand. Witehira’s particular field of research is design and tinorangatiratanga. As an expert on Maori art and design Witehira has been invited to participate in the development of art and design programmes.

Concept, animation & editorial: Johnson Witehira

Soundscape: Rio Hemopo-Hunuki