Chris Charteris / Aotearoa New Zealand b.1966 / Te ma (Fish trap) 2014 / Ringed venus shells, nylon and wood / 460 x 740 x 80cm /c The artist / Photograph: Jeff Smith / Image courtesy: The artist

Tungaru: The Kiribati Project
Te ma (Fish trap) 2014

On Display: GOMA, Gallery 3.4, Gallery 3.3

In the form of a heart shape, Te ma (Fish trap) 2014 is made from over 8000 pairs of ringed venus shells that Charteris collected with family members. Traditional te ma are collectively owned and cared for by coastal communities who depend on the fish for their daily sustenance. Highlighting their natural beauty, Charteris draws on this potent symbol of connection, community and life.

Tungaru: The Kiribati Project is an ongoing project that was initiated by artist Chris Charteris in 2012. ‘Tungaru’ is the name for the coral atolls in the western Pacific Ocean comprising Kiribati, and means ‘gathering together in a joyous kind of way’.

Collectivity, collaborative working methods and the massing of individual objects are the guiding principles of the project. The artists have worked with knowledge holders, museum curators, community representatives, family members and each other to create works that highlight the importance of building sustainable structures of communal wellbeing. The works draw on dance and performance, the shared responsibility of creating and maintaining te ma (fish traps), and the design of weaponry and armour as part of conflict resolution. Created from both natural and store-bought materials, these works use readily available resources to create objects of practical sophistication and aesthetic beauty.

Contemporary context

How does Chris Charteris:

  • challenge ideas of the past?
  • provoke discussion about twenty-first-century issues and concerns?

Personal context

How does Chris Charteris:

  • communicate influences on her life and experiences?
  • generate ideas from her own experiences, imagination or memories?
  • connect with the viewers’ experiences and/or expectations to construct meaning?

Cultural context

How does Chris Charteris:

  • explore cultural traditions?
  • reflect community interests through social commentary?
  • respond to cultural influences?
  • respond to influences of art movements, styles and origins of time and place?

Formal context

How does Chris Charteris:

  • employ specific art elements and principles to communicate meaning?
  • communicate intentions using symbols, motifs or signs?
  • enhance the interpretation of the artwork through processes, materials and media?
  • share characteristics with art movements, times, places or events?