Bob Jahnke: Lamentation | Holt Gallery
19 July – 27 October 2019
In Lamentation Bob Jahnke commissions new work by six poets including Witi Ihimaera and Tina Makereti. Drawing on their texts, Jahnke laments the destruction of our natural world.
Anchoring this collaborative project is Hone Tuwhare’s Rain. This visceral poem echoes Jahnke’s reference to Roimata Toroa.
Roimata Toroa (tears of the albatross), refers to the Toroa’s remarkable ability to drink salt water by expelling the salt out of its nostrils. Toroa is also a wanderer and roimata depicts the seabird pining for its distant homeland and breeding ground.
In tukutuku form, Roimata Toroa tells the Ngāti Porou story of the two sacred albatross that accompanied ancestor Pourangahua in bringing the kumara to Aotearoa. The pattern speaks of the misadventures of travellers who take shortcuts in haste to get to their destination. Its pattern is formed with stitches that fall vertically, like albatross tears, representing impending catastrophe.
Professor Robert (Bob) Jahnke (b. 1951) is of Ngāi Taharora, Te Whānau-aIritekura, Te Whānau a Rakairoa o Ngāti Porou, Samoan-German, Scottish and Irish descent.