I've recently been having more and more opportunities to work with tamariki and rangatahi, involving them in my work and sharing my passion for Māori Art and Tā Moko with them. Working in the educational sphere has already taught me so much and added so much value to my art practice and my life - teaching and sharing what I love is hugely rewarding!
There are several reasons why I love working with young people and why I think it is important.
Personally I feel that all creative activities have a multitude of benefits for human beings, and in particular children - the seeds of our future. Having an outlet and means of expression is healthy, healing and therapeutic. The arts have the ability to bring out the best in people, to bring us together, to connect and unite. The arts are a vehicle for teaching team work and creative collaboration with one another. Through the arts we can learn the power of focus, and the value of determination, commitment, persistence, practice, patience, and observation.
Cultural arts can connect children with who they are, their unique identities, who they have come from, their ancestry and the rich and vast culture and visual language that has been laid out before them by our ancestors. Cultural arts can be a vehicle for teaching both the importance of maintaining tradition, and also the value of innovation and evolution.
Cultural arts can also serve as a connecting point across cultures, bringing people of all different world views together - it can be a vehicle for cultural exchange and fostering respect between different people from all around the world. To me, empathising, understanding, seeing value in, and having an appreciation and interest in other cultures outside of ones own, is good for our kids.
I believe that Māori Art is a viable career pathway for some of our rangatahi and I want to help them achieve their dreams and goals and show that it is possible to be a successful Māori Artist, to not only survive from art but to thrive as well. I feel that the arts are an even playing field (provided you work hard and put in the hours) - for the kids that may not be good at sports, or maths, or English, or whatever the case may be, the arts can provide an opportunity for them to excel at something and to experience a feeling of success, accomplishment and achievement within themselves. There are many success stories of Māori Artists excelling in their chosen fields both within Aotearoa and internationally - and for the children that have their heart in their art, I want to help them excel and succeed.
A big thank you to my whanaunga Ash who co-facilitated this educational workshop, without Ash's contribution this workshop wouldn't have been possible.
If you would like me to come and work with your school, museum, gallery, organization or marae, just email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with details of what you would like to achieve, your budget, and some information about the group that you'd like me to work with. I'm currently working on developing a series of workshops - stay posted.