Poutama: The journey of a man on his ascent into the heavens.

poutama small

I have been working on a new image lately, it’s not nearly there yet which is so weird for me. I have been noticing that image-making takes longer these days. I reckon that’s not such a bad thing, as being in a PhD space I am always trying to find meaning and make sense of the things I do. But yah, strange to go from the ol’ 30 minute amazing wonder to the weeks long processes.

Different ways, different outcomes :).

Anyway, things have been going going going going going going going going going and stopping too. The weather is shit outside today, so I figured I should work from bed. Algudz though, I went for a walk to my village and I am going to training in a few hrs.

I have been thinking about my future a lot lately, in a strategic manner. My whole life I haven’t really had a plan, apart from my driving instinct that tells me I have a good purpose and I should keep walking forwards. I thought I would be dead by 30, so nearing 40 I figure luck is on my side.

I always felt like I was working toward being some kind of artist, a bullshit one mostly, and over the past five years felt like I accomplished a lot of creative success. Now however, I am realising there is most probably a long road ahead and that where I thought I was in the middle of my career, I am more at the beginning. It’s exciting to acknowledge that, because if this is the start then holy shit, good things are ahead.

I feel loved up.

I am suckful at relationships. Even though I am quite mechanical on the surface, inside I have a heart of a child, full of voice and expression but silenced by my robotic nature. I don’t like to let my heart out too often because in the past I have been really hurt, by others but more so by myself. I fall in love waaaaay too easy. I have been emerging from a scenario that has been particularly scarring and so many times over the past three years, that particular relationship caused damage. I am glad to be letting go of it, realising it was just a step on a cyclic journey.

Where I am from, my ancestors Tutaneki and Hinemoa left the legacy of beautiful relationship; within its layers I most definitely saw the threads of my own life begin to weave together. My Hinemoa and Tutaneki phase lasted from 2008 till now, but I have shifted beyond it. Interesting because for a long time I couldn’t see past its confines. It’s tricky in many ways to have a cultural memory of narratives, and to theorise about ways to use them productively and wisely. New stories are important and that’s where my research focus is. I suppose I needed a reminder to create my own story again.

Did you ever meet a guy you liked a lot before realising that life could be fun and drama free? Did you ever realise at the same time, that you didn’t have to stay put, that you were cashed up and that really, if you wanted to go travel, and live in another country for a few months to figure out if there was future in that fun, then you could totally do it?

One more month to churn out a mega amount of work, and then I am flying free in the world again.

chill time

Man, the past few months have been hella! Super busy and feeling bogged down with winter, drama from friends (actually, just the one but he’s a handful at times) and a shitload of mahi! By last week I was on autopilot, riding the waves to the shore.

But good learnings though… excellent learnings. Ima always down for a bit of learning lol.

I went to parliament last Monday to make a submission on why the government should invest in engaging young boys and men throughout the Moana, in sexual and reproductive health. It was pretty fascinating to hear the difficulties people on the smaller Islands have experienced, due to colonisation’s impact. I suppose vasectomies are a big thing on the Islands these days, with a lot of people lobbying for more funding for more vasectomies. To me, that fixes a short-term problem in the case of unwanted pregnancies, but yah, doesn’t really engage men to find their ways back into being part of families. It bothers me that our tane today, are on the loose, losing themselves in the madness of Western modes and relationships. We need our men in our families.

The rest of last week was spent at an Indigenous research conference. I love big Indigenous knowledge gatherings and hearing the ways Native nations have been strategising to empower their peeps. Apart from all the learning and sharing there, I got to see the hottest hula in the universe. After the conference dinner finished I enjoyed having a few beers and a singalong; Māori people and alcohol equals guitar party. It’s always good to see academics let their hair down :).

I presented a paper…well, more ideas actually as I try really hard to fill the empty space that is my PhD thesis. I feel like I have gotten pretty good over the past few years at presenting research in my own unique manner which is more like telling story. I am writing about conference presentations in the context of performance art, so it was awesome to have peeps give me good feedback. Even though I got flustered when just after beginning, I found I only had five minutes left, I did good work. I was pretty surprised to ponder the faces I saw in the audience, not only friends but the heavy hitters of Indigenous academia. At the party, one of my peers told me I was a “freak” because my research is so evocative and different from the norm. I feel good about that hahah.

Then, the weekend. I had a photoshoot for a book project. It was very cool to model for an artist whose work I really admire, Tanu Gago, and I felt good that I can still remember how to werk in front of a lens. Actually, it’s funny thinking about lenses, in front of a still camera I am ace…in front of a moving image camera eeeeek. I had an interview for Te Kaea, the Māori TV news earlier last week and felt like I was gunna wet myself trying to talk to the lens. Anyway, it was a good shoot and I had to remind myself that the hot 19 yr old modelling with me was only half my age. Inappropriate thoughts that day lol.

And so now, it’s chill time for me. The busy part of the year is over and I can ease my days away, writing writing writing and making art happen. It’s all a glamor, all for show, go directly to jail do not pass out on the way. The fray is failing me and fearful of futures without foundation, I fret amongst the madness.

Mirror mirror, on the wall, mirror me some mindfulness. Make me make you love me love you, it’s all just games, no names.

Never notice, just bliss.