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I am a salt lake – Exhibition by Ana Iti at The Physics Room

Ngā Toi Māori, Visual Arts
image Image: Ana Iti, I am a salt lake, research image, 2023.

Exhibition runs: 9 September – 22 October 2023

Ana Iti’s new film brings together footage from Kāpara-Te-Hau (the salt lakes in Te Tau Ihu, near Te Waiharakeke Blenheim), abstracted diagrams on glass, and a first person text. Hand drawn slowly, the diagrams respond to the movements of air and water, the settling of alluvial sediment and salt. The text appears intermittently; I am trying to connect across two islands and a strait, it begins. As a whole the work registers a desire to span distance, acknowledging the world as an expansive moving body, and the human self as taking many forms.

I am a salt lake is also a search to find language adequate to articulate the relationship with the different waters, winds, whenua and houses that the artist moves through. The work is grounded in a specific geographical site and system—the environment and processes that produce the mineral salt—with a series of questions opening out from that: how will I go there? how will I go? how to stay safe? These questions aren’t resolved at the end of the work. Rather, there is a sense that they will incrementally shift over time, dissolve with seawater, dry, and crystallise again.

Ana Iti (Te Rarawa, Pākehā) is an artist currently based in Te Matau-a-Maui Hawkes Bay. She works across sculpture, video, and text. Iti’s work explores poetic and structural relationships between language and our environment, as well as the practices of shared and personal history-making. Iti has a BFA (Sculpture) from the Ilam School of Fine Arts in Ōtautahi Christchurch and a MFA from Toi Rauwhārangi Massey University in Te-Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington. Iti was the recipient of the Grace Butler Memorial Award in 2022 and is a nominee for the 2024 Walters Prize.


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