From migration to integration

A. E. Woodford, 2011. Silk threads, paint and wool.

From migration ~
You arrive full of expectation, of dreams held, of stories told.
But when you arrive it is different.
You are different.
You are looked upon differently,
{yet we are all the same}
your clothing is different, your food is strange.

Their food is strange.

Where are the ingredients, to make this place your home?
What you have gone through to get here, I will never be able to comprehend.
Leaving behind those you love,
{you may never see them again}.
Too many have experienced unspeakable acts of cruelty by others. 
Too common are these acts. 
But in time communities build, they change, they shift.
Your ancestors, on this land.
{our land*}

What holds them is made up of shifting patterns, a few gaps, a mingling of colours.

The centre
{which we cannot see}
is knotted hard together,
to ‘keep it together’.
It is a little uneven, a bit murky, unclear.
This has gone before, what we cannot see, we hear.

As the layers fold, what is held becomes softer, almost whimsical.
Held gently, a soft, complex, beautiful outer is formed.
It flows from one colour to the next
~ to integration.



Artist statement

In this piece, I explore my family history and ‘life lived’ through migration (of my ancestors) into the integration I see today (in myself & my generation). Using the Miecat form of Inquiry I knot, weave and write my way into exploring and coming to know the difficulties, differences and celebrations surrounding this part of my life story. Although a personal account, I recognise a pattern which (I believe) continues today with recent arrivals from foreign (some might say ‘less desirable’) shores. The same caution and indifference that my Lebanese ancestors experienced when they arrived in New Zealand 100 years ago, yet here I stand, integrated between cultures.

*I acknowledge and pay my respect to the traditional owners of the land that my ancestors met, the Ngāi Tahu iwi. It is upon their ancestral lands of Ōtepoti, that my families and I now live and work.

Theme: Overlay by Kaira