Kohi Kai | 2012 -
He wha tawhara ki uta, he kiko tamure ki tai.
When the tawhara flower is on the shore, the snapper are at sea.
À la St Jean, les pommes craquent sous la dent!
The apples of St Johns will crack your teeth!
'The process of learning turns a strange context into a familiar one, and finally into a habitation of mind and heart...
Learning to know a community or landscape is homemaking.' Bateson, M. C., 1994, p178.
This ongoing project starts with the act of foraging for food; a traditional, common place practice for Māori in Aotearoa, and Jèrriais in Jersey.
The practice of foraging requires environmental, geographical, culinary and medicinal knowledge - you shouldn't harvest oysters in summer when they are spawning, and Juneberry (Amelanchier, edible, high in Vitamin C) is not the same as a Firebush Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster integerrimus, toxic, source of cyanide). Throughout the world, this knowledge is traditionally passed down within family groups, where the practice is a not just about gathering food, but used as a method of monitoring, maintaining and nurturing the environment and land.
Moving away from my family homes, I've continued to forage as a way of getting to know a new landscape and environment. I have found it helps me to feel like I'm at home, like I can belong somewhere new. Foraging outside of where I come from introduces me to my host culture, native foods and new environments in a way that reminds me that across our worlds of cultures we have more in common than we may first imagine, and that the land is at the heart of how we belong to a place.
Bateson, M. C., 1994, in de Zegher, C. (ed.), 1996. Inside the Visible: An Elliptical Traverse of 20th Century Art in, of, and From the Feminine. Massachusetts, USA: MIT Press.