COLLABORATION IS THE FUTURE // MELANIE ROGER GALLERY // FEATURING ELLA BREWER // ALICIA COURTNEY // ISAAC KATZOFF // BLESSINGS BY GESHE THUPEN WANGCHEN // FLORAL ART BY FELICITY JONES // 2018

Collaboration Is The Future operates as reciprocal exchange relations that establishes artworks that have the potential to be enacted with. Where complementary relationships transfer the focus of ritual, to collections of abundance that examine historical contexts in which religion could not be separated from politics, economics or social life. Conceptually Collaboration Is The Future positions the values and ethics of social practice as collectable artworks that focus on the collaborative process. These objects are imbued with an energy that is a vital and valuable aspect of the artwork.  Each altar has been prepared by years of collaborative discourse, through seeking, gathering and weaving together authentic materials that articulate Singh’s artistic identity. As an contemporary artist. At this moment in time. A moment where her enquiry, context and relationships have come together to create a body of work that has been germinating for nearly a decade.

These materials of deep land, deep forest and deep sea connect divine natural materials to domestic human society. The act of all the individual collaborations culminating at Collaboration Is The Future is very significant, as the complete suite of works appears as an archival collection of time and place for the artist.

OM MANI PADME HUM 2018 // Collaborator // Geshe Thupten Wangchen
Materials // Printed Ribbon, Fairtrade bells

Om Mani Padme Hum blends a spectrum of coloured ribbon printed with the Tibetan Buddhist mantra Om Mani Padme Hum in Tibetan script. These ribbons are adorned with fair-trade bells, signifying Singh’s commitment to supporting cottage industry and her ongoing partnership with rural artisan communities in developing countries. Beyond this, the bell also holds an important place within various Buddhist rituals and offerings around the world. Together, these elements subtly and delicately reflect the intrinsic values of Singh’s practice. 

In Om Mani Padme Hum, Singh uses the tonal variations to reference the Terra Chakra, a positive flow of energy that grounds us and connects us to the earth (Gaia). The mantra (or prayer) has been used with the permissions given by Geshe Wangchen. This work was made with guidance from the resident teacher Geshe Wangchen at Dorje Chang Institute for Wisdom Culture. This collaboration incorporated blessings and guidance from Geshe Wangchen. The Tibetan script for the mantra was gifted by Geshe La. Geshe Thupten Wangchen was born of Tibetan parents in India in 1966. At the age of 10, he entered the Tibetan Buddhist educational system of the Gelugpa tradition as a novice monk at Sera Jey Monastery in South India. Geshe-la later took full ordination with His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

SHE WHO IMPLEMENTS  // Collaborator // Ella Brewer // Isaac Katzoff
Materials // Genuine silver, 23 carat gold, heartsease (pansy), marigold dye, earth, hand blown glass, wood, rice, water, crystals, flowers, apple, incense, bell

Green Tara embodies swift enlightened action driven by wisdom and compassion. The 7 materials in the hand blown glass vessels represent the traditional offerings of water for drinking, water for washing, flowers, incense, perfumed water, food and music. The 8th offering represents light as the 3 hand blown glass orbs. The significance of rice relates to its basic life-sustaining qualities. Rice is revered as a potent symbol of auspiciousness, prosperity and fertility and therefore is used extensively in Eastern rites and rituals.

Isaac Katzoff emigrated from the USA in 2007, where he trained for a BFA and worked for several years as a glass blower. Much of his work is based in the idea that every object represents an accumulation of knowledge. 

SHADOWS OF THE AWAKENED // Collaborator // Ella Brewer
Materials // Genuine silver, 24 carat gold, heartsease (pansy), marigold dye, indigo dye, rose dye, pansy dye, earth, mud, variegated foil, Aquamarine,

This suite of artworks is an abbreviation and elaboration on sacred Tibetan images. The magical combination of these two lineages, one precise; full of detailed symbolism, the other organic and free flowing, is a translation of Buddhist Art from the Tibetan tradition for a contemporary Western audience. The shadows of the awakened refers to the immense potential of each person. As a shadow resembles its owner, so do we resemble our highest potential.  Each deity present, shows an aspect of this potential. Medicine Buddha represents supreme wellbeing. Green Tara embodies swift enlightened action driven by wisdom and compassion. Vajravarahi cuts away delusional states of mind. Chenrezig offers love, joy, compassion and equanimity to all. The use of precious metals have been used to honour the divine in many religious traditions, whist the use of New Zealand earth connects the artwork to the terra energies of Aotearoa. Ella Brewer’s practice supports Buddhists in the Vajrayana school of Tibetan Buddhism.  She engages teenagers in art / mindfulness education at Epsom Girls Grammar. Recently her practice has evolved to support the critical new field of the Wellbeing Sector, bridging health, education and the visual arts. Her intention is to offer new ways of seeing our human potential.  The magical combination of these two lineages, one precise; full of detailed symbolism, the other organic and free flowing, is a translation of Buddhist Art from the Tibetan tradition for a contemporary Western audience. 

SHE WHO PRESIDES ABOVE // SHE WHO PRESIDES BELOW // Collaborator // Alicia Courtney
Materials // siapo, tanekaha dye, hemp, coconut shell, sea egg spikes, turmeric dye, shells, muka, horse hair, coyote skull, teeth, peacock feathers, bone, Raurekau dye, hand blown glass, wood, powdered rose quartz, rose quartz, rabbit skull, rice, incense, kauri seeds, flowers, sage, butterfly, ceramic, carnelian, hawk claws, kaka feather

The Goddess Altars She Who Presides Above and She Who Presides Below are formed by materials known for adornment and prestige. The materials have been painstakingly collected over the course of the last decade by both artists across different continents and countries. Materials that speak to a intimate connection with the land, the ancestors and the philosophies and ethics they value as artists. Ethics that speak of the cultivation, application and the ceremonial importance natural materials hold and the cultural value they carry. She Who Presides is an offering to the worship of the female deity. “The female as the sensual feeling of well-being and connectedness that places us in a state of joyful agreement or mutual understanding. In the past fertility had been associated with generation: for women formed the connection between the ancestors and future generations, for it was through her that life passed ” - Goddess. Mother Of Living Nature, Adele Getty
Alicia has always been drawn to the art of making. Coming from a background of traditional Maori weaving and stone tool technology has led her to the belief that ‘the world made of hands’ affirms our relationship between the land and people that speaks of a timeless continuum of function and beauty to re-present the past, present and future. She strives to reveal the sublime elegance of life, strength and spirit that is present in all matter.
Richard Orjis and Tiffany Singh ceramics are also featured in the works as are Tessa Laird’s cloud shelves and Isaac katzoff hand blown glass. 
This work was made with the support of Creative New Zealand with elements created and sourced from both the CNZ Samoa residency, Apia Samoa and  The Food Justice Residency, Santa Fe Institute of The Arts, New Mexico, USA. Awarded to Tiffany Singh 2011 // 2015 respectively

SHE WHO PROTECTS // Collaborator // Isaac Katzoff // Alicia Courtney
Materials // Cast crystal rainbow Buddha, cast crystal lotus, rose quartz, hand blown glass vessels, incense, rice, shells, water, flowers, amethyst, feathers, rudraksha mala, peacock feathers, bone, green tourmaline, clear double ended quartz wand, quartz pieces

The Thai Buddha form, Theppanom emanates the seven chakra colours for balance and healing.  Theppanom is believed to have first come to earth when Buddha reached enlightenment and is believed to protect Buddha and act as the guardian of the temple or sacred space. The offering bowls relate to the chakras which hold their own colour and vibrational frequency. The chakras are seen to be the catalysts of consciousness and human function and the corresponding offerings help to activate each energy centre and bring harmony and protection to any space.

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