Niki Henipaiaro White is a Taranaki born artist, currently living under the care of the mountains of the South Island, New Zealand. Her iwi are Ngāti Tama, Ngāti Mutunga, Ngāti Toa Rangatira & Kai Tahu - Kati Wheke. Nikis work explores processes common to sculpture and installation, exploring scale and indigenous craft practises. Her work has Mātauranga Māori at it’s core, melding Te Ao Maori with contemporary craft practises, shifting continuously between ancient and contemporary making practises. She has a Bachelor of Design and Visual Arts (3D Design) Majoring in Contemporary Craft & a Bachelor of Health Science specialising in research of Indigenous models of health.
Te Ao Māori is central to Nikis work. Researching site specific materials and indigenous stories to respond with various 3D making contemporary craft processes. Her current work explores scale using a mix of ancient techniques more commonly found in a blacksmiths studio, such as forging and Japanese water casting. Niki works in the realm of nature, creating opportunities for materials, processes and the uncontrollable to guide outcomes. The results are explorative pieces that look volcanic, as if they've been unearthed. Reflecting indigenous craft philosophies and the awareness of the mauri (1) inherent in natural materials. Each body of work is made as a limited edition series or one off pieces and are available at selected galleries.
(1) Mauri (noun) life principle, life force, vital essence, special nature, a material symbol of a life principle, source of emotions - the essential quality and vitality of a being or entity. Also used for a physical object, individual, ecosystem or social group in which this essence is located.