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mataura fencewalk, 2022. Fencing wire, jewellery wire, utility wire. 

Text by Jordan Davey-Emms, from exhibition Pollen in the Trough 

"Matarua Fence Walk by Madison Kelly (Kāi Tahu, Kāti Māmoe, Pākehā) is a prickly, slippery weaving made from jewellery wire, fencing wire, and utility wire.


In this iteration she hovers in the mouth of the space like a ghost, twined whenu just brushing the floor. Her edges are prickly and fine. You can walk around Matarua, look at both sides, breach the boundary.


Matarua is a vaguely body sized weaving. The weaving method Madison has used, whatu, is a finger weft-twining technique usually used to construct garments from soft harakeke fibre. But here, whatu looks like mesh, a harsh net, a slippery grid.


Madison intended Matarua to look like a fence. Specifically, the predator resistant fencing on the sanctuary they work at: Te Korowai o Mihiwaka. The name, gifted to the sanctuary by Madison's hapū, refers to the fauna and flora of the valley as a korowai that descends from the mauka Mihiwaka and envelops the taoka species there.


At work, Madison walks this boundary line. It protects, but it also excludes. It drapes over the valley in a different way to the ngāhere korowai. It is rigid. Madison's mahi toi explores multispecies histories and futures. Matarua Fence Walk, made from precious and utilitarian wires, brings boundaries and conservation culture into question. She's a wobbly drawing of a fence. A bristling cloak. She's made with care; she shows us both sides."

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