Olivia Asher

ipu uku

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This body is a vessel,

It is a tool.

I unpack the meaning attached to the vessel

As I unpack the meaning attached to myself.

It carries me

It carries a home

For which I seek to find myself in.

The vessel carries into the ipu

Though they may seem the same

They are not

The ipu is the carrier of (my) self

The vessel is what came before it.

I oscillate between my Māori and Pākehā identity.

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It is a slow, thoughtful, meditative process.

It is an act of coiling

It is an act of mending (myself)

It is not something that can be rushed.

I shape the uku (knowledge) into something substantial – an ipu (an identity).

Through this process, a reciprocal relationship is formed with myself,

my materials and my whakapapa.

Hand built, hand pinched.

I sit at my bench and mend the uku into itself

(in this instance, I am the uku)

with every few layers

I wait, let it rest

For what is underneath needs to harden into a foundation (of knowledge,

of memory),

so it can support itself,

so it can support me.

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