Sometimes great things come out of tough times. For Keremia Tairua that undoubtedly holds true. After a period of being unwell and even losing her beloved mother, Keremia who was working as a computer technician was feeling like she had to do something more fulfilling. Coming from a family of teachers and creative minds, she decided to study Art and Design at EIT. She gained a certificate and will continue now with her diploma in fashion.
Two of her creations will be shown at “Whatu”, an exhibition at the Hastings Community Centre which opens on Saturday and could be seen as her biggest achievement so far. Keremia shares the beautifully curated space with more than 30 artists who work with a large array of media. One of Keremias masterpieces is named Papatūānuku’s Reclamation. Inspired by artist George Nuku, creator of the exhibition “Bottled Ocean” at Napier’s MTG, she created a wearable piece of art that could also be interpreted as a warning.
“I like to work with recycled plastic. I want to pass the message on, that we should remember the past as we look into the future.” For Keremia it’s about protecting Papatūānuku (mother earth) and taking care of resources that we have been given. Keremia would love to see it travel around a bit and eventually be displayed in a public space. “Art is normal for me now. I can be me and be at peace with myself,” says Keremia.
One of “Whatu” curators is EIT Art and Design tutor, Raewyn Paterson. “It is a joy to bring a show like Whatu together. Exhibitions of this kind give me a way to encourage my promising Māori students into a public exhibition as a group where the load can be shared and varied skills utilised. It’s a great opportunity to create collaboration possibilities and whanaungatanga (building relationships).”
Raewyn didn’t’ miss the chance to exhibit some of her own designs. An elaborate piece of fashion is the blue capelet, hand screen printed and fully reversible. “The blue side is wool and this is one of my original prototypes inspired by the Whetu Tirikatene-Sullivan Collection held at MTG. Her sense of bold undeniably Māori style always influence my work,” says Raewyn.
EIT diploma in fashion programme coordinator, Cheryl Downie is finally showcasing her design skills too. “I have always been into fashion but I never had the time to do my own designs. Until this exhibition came up,” says Cheryl. She is pleased to exhibit some of her flamboyant coats and jackets inspired by german fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel). Cheryl eventually wants to start her own label focusing on making (and weaving) winter clothes.
“I’m keen to explore the tourist market. I think that a lot of tourists buy a special piece to keep as a memory of a place they really liked. It has to be practical though which is why I want to keep my fashion as a commercial product,” says Cheryl.