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.