‘A Vocabulary’, Bruce Connew, is a 604-page, cloth, case-bound artist book in an edition of 250 (Vapour Momenta Books, 2021): 306 works, an introduction, ‘A vocabulary of colonisation’, with He Mōteatea The Lament, and essay by Rangihīroa Panoho.
After three years research, fieldwork, edit, research, more research, Covid-19, research, design, print and bind, the artist book and accompanying exhibition are here, the exhibition opening preview 16.00 – 18.00h, Saturday, 12 December 2020, Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery, Titirangi, Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland. Advance copies of the book will be available at Vapour Momenta Books and the Te Uru shop.
“I step mindfully onto the farmland to photograph a panorama of the battle site from both Māori and Pākehā points of view. After several footsteps, and with some bafflement, I stop dead in my tracks at a strange sensation deep inside my belly, which today I’m still unable clearly to throw light on. History was here, I grasp that, but this was out of that range. Does earth hold memory, and deliver that memory when the gravity is ripe? I quietly push forward. It was not the only occasion this phenomenon manifested while roaming the battles of Aotearoa’s reprehensible colonial wars. The memory of that memory has not grown pale.
Over several recent years, not the least abstractedly, I’ve roamed more, this time after the many memorials and gravestones for the dead of these wars, or more specifically, the texts on these testaments to folly. A vocabulary of colonisation.”