Created as an act of patriotism during a six month pilgrimage of the Indian subcontinent, Aoraki pays homage to New Zealand’s tallest mountain (Aoraki/mount Cook), and creates a scale model of the mountain (3724m). Originally, I was intending to present Elbrus, a work of this nature, using Russia (and Europe’s) tallest mountain, at Pushkinskaya-10 in a few weeks time.
As Covid-19 grew into a pandemic, it became obvious that this plan would change. There is a gap that exists between this work, Aoraki, and it’s original natural body. Whilst exact to scale (both 3724m) they present two different perceptions on a concept, or mass, and it is here that I am interested in operating from in my arts practice. Over a period of 460+ hours, I finger knit the height of this mountain in artist residencies across India and Nepal between July 2019 and January 2020, because I was homesick, and there existed between me and this mountain a rather large gap, the Pacific Ocean. As this work travelled around with me, it has seen four incarnations, as in each presentation of the work, it has taken on a new form to adapt to the space it has been shown in. First it was shown twice in Japan, then in a group show in the south island of New Zealand, and here it currently sits at grey, an art space in Auckland.
This work asks viewers to reflect upon their relationship with nature, and what it represents to each of us as we are more often than not rejecting it. This work invites the viewer to take themselves away, if only for a moment, to a quiet place, at the base of a sacred mountain, somewhere in their mind.Wesley John Fourie
Wesley John Fourie is an artist based on the Milford Track in UNESCO World Heritage Site, ’Fiordland National Park’ on the west coast of New Zealand’s south island. Their work, predominantly textile based, explores the themes of nature and spirituality. Drawing heavily upon Hindu philosophy where all natural resources are considered as God’s ( a river, a mountain valley, etc.) Wesley John creates site specific textile installations that pay homage to each place they inhabit. Due to their interest in spirituality, they have spent extended periods of time across the Indian subcontinent. Their work is held in private collections across New Zealand, India, Japan, Nepal, Germany, Italy, and Australia.