Jo Tēna tātou. My name is Jo and I am Māori from Aotearoa, NZ. My whakapapa (genealogy) connects me to Taranaki mountain in the West, and to Tarawera and Matawhaura mountains in the Bay of Plenty. I currently reside in the East in Tūranganui-a-Kiwa. I also honour my Scottish and Cornish ancestry that continue to call me. One day I will set foot on the earth there.
I remember endless days as a child, often wandering alone through the landscape – single digits I was! Where were my parents? I am forever grateful for this experience because it has instilled in me a connection to nature that inspires me to this day both creatively and in my life. I remember building my house from ferns and bark, collecting tadpoles in an ice-cream container to take home and watch grow (they never actually did!) and gathering wild blackberries that would never make it to a blackberry jam!
I was always collecting things, just like Stacey, so my home is a gathering of storytelling stones from all around the world, a garden of trees, flowers and kai (food) that is my daily inspiration and learning. I have a library full of books – some I have never read, and bits and pieces laying around everywhere!
I am an artist. So expect there to be mess, chaos and things… that one day may end up on a wall or in a space somewhere. Because within that chaos lives my creativity, my inspiration to journey deeper into who I am. Everyday as I create, I am trying to make sense of my place in this world and what I can offer it.
Photography, stones and nature are my mediums. And anything else that I can find to create with. And everything that I create has intention to benefit humanity and the earth.
For me collaboration is important. It allows us to see another perspective and I am SO excited to be on this journey with Stacey. We have lots in common through our indigenous cultures, but we are also different. And it is through this collaborative sharing that we become inspired to create and share our stories.
We don’t quite know where this is leading yet, but documenting the journey is important! So join us, and feel free to share your own perspective.
Stacey: My name is Stacey. My Inuktitut or traditional Inuit name is Aglok (pronounced Aa-r-luk), Aarluk is the name I use quite often to sign off on my work. I am from Kugluktuk, Nunavut, A small Inuit community located above the Arctic Circle. My mother is originally from Ulukhaktok – an even smaller community in the Arctic.
Today, I live and work in Iqaluit, Nunavut. The capital city of a territory full of untouched land and beautiful, permafrozen soil with my 8 year old panik (daughter).
I grew up loving to read, draw, paint and collect things from the land. I am still this. Rocks. Drift wood. Feathers. Lost and found plywood. I get it from my mother. I let all these shape me and my art. Or of inspiring something in me. Walk through my house and you will find bones, rocks and books everywhere. I also love photography and Jo has been inspiring me to use my camera in a more – which I’m excited to share on this space we’ve created here!
My language and culture are very important to me and I try to incorporate this into my work – but I do need to continuously remind myself to infuse it into my life in healthy and creative ways. It’s not always easy.
As an indigenous woman I love collaborating with other indigenous peoples – within my own culture and community or outside of it. I am so excited to be working with Jo on Walking In Circles. I look forward to potentially hearing more indigenous voices on here some day as well – learning, sharing, inspiring, healing and creating.