My place under Matariki

by Sonja van Kerkhoff, 2016

Painted wooden disc by Sonja van Kerkhoff         
diameter 40.5 cm, acrylic, sawdust + varnish on shaped plywood

Whenever I return to Aotearoa, New Zealand, where I was born and raised, it is looking up at the night sky that gives me a sense of being. Perhaps it is because there is less light pollution, because I am outside more in the evenings or because these stars from this orientation are so familiar. Here Matariki (the constellation of the seven sisters) is most dominant. When first seen in late May or June, Matariki marks the beginning of the Maori New Year. Although the stars are distant, when we are aware of them, they remind us that we inhabit a particular place on earth at a particular moment. Fragments of furniture found on the streets in the Netherlands frame the painted sky in "A paradox of place" while in the painting "My place under Matariki" the same view of the night sky is painted on a rounded wooden disc. Both works touch on a paradox of place, that the furtherest things may also be the nearest to us.

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