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Caitlín Clarke

Shared Lines: Wellington 2017 & Shared Lines: Kaikōura 2019 exhibiting artist


Cold water, Warm Blood – 2017, Christchurch, Film/ projection and calico

My work often stems from anthropological or historical sources and then blooms from there. I have a strong interest in the nature/culture complex as a societal institution, a paradigm that is formed in most western minds that separates the way we think about the ‘self’ and ‘culture’ and ‘nature’ as all separate entities. My work, at its core is about the relationships of people to themselves, others and to nature, and how this is exhibited in our lives physically, spiritually, materially or philosophically. I also explore my personal history through collection/creation of material objects and the histories those objects inhabit. My practice is eclectic, intuitive and research driven. It often takes the forms of handwritten books, pottery, film, found/reformed/collected objects and natural materials usually in installations which usually have a primary experience of wonder and nostalgia followed by an exploration of deeper layers in the self.

I also have a strong interest in curation, and am one of the three kaiwhakaere (director/starting energy/organizer/advisor) of Ōtautahi Korerotia (ŌK) project in Christchurch.

In response to a deeply uncomfortable dream where they were forced to be at sea, Caitlin began to think about how their memories of inland bodies of fresh water tie her strongly to those places. The open water of the sea is an unanchored abyss lacking the memories of family gatherings like those at lakes and rivers up and down Te Wai Pounamu. Caitlin assembles the support of her matriarchal line in a stretch of the Waimakariri river they often swam in as a child. Feeling comfort in the solidity of history and the support of knowledgeable family, this film sketches a sensation of femininity within landscape and the ways they sense the depth of history, memory and whakapapa in whenua.

Wary of assuming the same relationship with land as tangata whenua, this work expresses Caitlin’s awareness of the continuous energy of family that has long resided in a certain landscape. The potency and significance of this energy is only heightened by the presence of another deeper relationship with that landscape as well; that of tangata whenua. For Caitlin, these experiences resonate in chorus with one another and are felt deeply. The work stems from a dream world only to evoke more worlds of (day)dreaming, wairua, mythology and imagination.

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