"As a 5th generation New Zealander, my earliest influences in art were the Maori carvers whose work I saw in museums and wharenui (meeting houses). I am still strongly inspired by traditional carving and contemporary Maori art as it is usually inspired by environment (one of the most important influences in my own work), ancestors, beliefs and legends that has a narrative quality.
The Kava Ceremony is one of the most important customs of Polynesian culture involving a solemn ritual where a beverage is shared to mark most ceremonial and social occasions. The Samoan word for both the plant and the drink manufactured there from is 'ava', although, at some distant date before the letter 'K' was dropped from the Samoan language it was termed kava by which name it is universally recognised
Kava is consumed throughout the Pacific Ocean societies of Polynesia, including Hawaii, Vanuatu, Melanesia and some parts of Micronesia and its usage and ceremonies vary considerably between different societies.
The beverage is made from the dried roots of the plant Piper Methysticum (piper, latin for "pepper' , methysticum (latinized) greek for "intoxicating"). It produces a drink with sedative and anesthetic properties Kava is primarily consumed to relax without disrupting mental clarity. Its active ingredients are called kavalactones. The roots from which the drink is made are carefully cleaned and scraped. The root of the plant is called a'a 'ava, the first word meaning root. The 'ava roots are cleaned and dried in the sun before usage. It is prepared by either chewing, grinding or pounding the roots and is mixed with water before it is strained for drinking.
The paraphernalia surrounding the traditional kava ceremony are expertly crafted. Traditionally designed kava bowls, or 'tanoa', from which the Kava is served, are made from a single piece of wood. More modern exampled are also highly decorated, often carved and inlaid with mother of pearl and shell. The bowls vary in size from 12 to 30 inches and the stand on short rounded legs varying in number from 4 to 24. In earlier bowls, the legs were tapered towards the bottom and reduced there to about a half an inch in diameter. It is unusual to find a bowl that has a greater depth than six inches and the majority are perhaps not more than 3 or 4 inches deep. A brim of a width varying according to the size of the bowl runs round the top of the tanoa. The tanoa is usually made from the wood of th Ifilele tree (Intsia bijuga), a hard grained timber of a reddish brown colour. When the bowl was finished, it was soaked in fresh water for a considerable time to remove the woody smell. 'Ava often was allowed to remain indefinitely in the tanoa in order that the inside might acquire an enamelled appearence. This enamed or sheen is called 'tane'. Chiefs and orators, high and low, use the same type of tanoa. At ceremonies, the bowl used is that belonging to the chief or orator at whose house the ceremony is behing held.
For this tanoa I have used Jarrah from Western Australia, a piece I have had for many years waiting for a special project, as it is similar in colour and characteristics to Ifilele wood."
Materials: Jarrah, Acrylic Paint