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Isla Fabu

Revealing Muka

Currently from Kerikeri in The Far North, Isla approaches her art practice with a very empathetic mindset. Here she talks about her materials, her making, her thoughts and her feelings:

I am an artist living in Aotearoa New Zealand. Raised by the Baltic Sea and adopted by the Southern Ocean, I feel deeply at home in the natural world.

Currently I co-create with muka, the inner fibre of harakeke. My intuitive process starts with individual plants I regard as personalities.

Each of my artworks is rooted in the natural world. Natural fibres and colours from the land are my medium. Growing, gathering and processing these living things with attention, respect and love are at the heart of my practice.

In an online post Isla describes the time she spends communing with her elements as: Treasured time for listening to fibres and colours from the land. I can only hear them when I’m quiet.

A union has occurred between Isla and her spinning equipment – either her spinning wheel Aura  or her Turkish spindle.

These devices allow a release within Isla that sets free her passion for the twirling act of hand spinning. When I spin I feel connected to something bigger than me. I’m in the flow – free to play with ideas and techniques. The resulting innovative yarns are the building blocks of my multilayered fibre pieces.

It is important to me to take time for my explorations. Time to engage with every moment – to observe, feel, listen… to come home to the world via my senses. Time to feel the connection with Papatūānuku / Mother Earth and all beings coming from her. Time to practice reciprocity, connection and oneness.

I like to call this slow process time-receiving versus time-consuming.

It is a journey into magical realms and the unknown. It’s the reason why I feel driven to create art.

My current work emerges from an intimate dialogue with muka*. I’m particularly interested in Māori and Polynesian wisdom, the similarities between indigenous practices all over the world and how they relate to my own Baltic Sea heritage.

This is an ongoing exploration of connection to place, the nature of interbeing*, and where we belong beyond human society.

muka is the inner fibre of harakeke. Harakeke is also known as Phormium tenax or New Zealand Flax.

interbeing is a word coined by Thich Nhat Hanh, meaning nothing can exist without everything else in the cosmos.

Solo Exhibition – Beauty and the Beast. 3rd March – 11th April 2022.

A selection of works exploring the space beyond dualistic perceptions

There is immediately a sense of time slowing on entering the space where this exhibition is installed. It is as if we are being asked by the works of Isla to grant them some detailed amount of our time in an awareness and respect for the time held in the transformation processes that led to their creation.

While the creating has been time rich, the thoughts inspiring the processes have an intuitive timeliness for our world. Below is Isla’s Artist statement on this exhibition, a collection of her works from the recent past that explore our human inclination to categorise and “box” perceptions.

Growing up in Eastern Germany behind the Iron Curtain, I believed in a scary beast on the other side of the wall. The wall came down but the beast turned out to be different than I thought. It lives in-side of each of us, constantly dividing into self and other, good and bad, having and not having and so on.

Each piece in this exhibition reflects on my journey into the space beyond these dualistic perceptions. A journey guided by natural fibres and colours from the land, and indigenous wisdom.

While living in the presence of Taranaki Maunga, muka, the fibre of harakeke / New Zealand Flax, became my main inspiration, spiritual guidance and beloved teacher, almost every piece in this exhibition is a co-creation with muka from this land. Working with this Beauty means extensive, time-receiving processes where I can be fully present for what is unfolding. It’s a homecoming to the world via my senses, a moment-by-moment-awakening from the dream of separation.

In these difficult times of change we live in, fear easily feeds the separating mind, which only causes more suffering. I hope this exhibition provides some inspiration for connecting back to the quiet space where we are ONE.

“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.” Rumi

The alternative title for this exhibition could well have been On Interbeing. However the background story about this naming is carefully crafted on Isla’s blogpost:

It is a wonderful thing to host these works in the presence of our Taranaki Maunga on the edge of the mighty Tasman Ocean.

The individual items offered for sale in this exhibition will be available through the on-line gallery shop.

Here is Isla’s background statement about her work in Dreaming of the Future – NZ Regional Group of SDA Exhibition 2021:

Forest in A Tear Drop

Sometimes I dream about a future where there is no struggle, no fear, no pain. But that world would also be without unfolding, no moon in the night sky and no decaying matter to nurture a tree.

Rather than dreaming I want to flow with it all, in the here and now. I want to stay awake for the abundance of each moment.

Isn‘t it this present moment where future lies? Where humans wake up from the dream of separation. Where there is only one time: pastpresentfuture. 

Sometimes I dream. 

Forest in A Tear Drop
Detail of Forest in a Tear Drop.
Close up of Forest in a Tear Drop
Mid view of Forest in a Tear Drop

More images and details of the Forest In a Tear Drop are on the gallery web shop now. If you want any extra images or information please contact the gallery.

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