The Lightship in partnership with The University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Arts is pleased to present 'Kupesi Sisi Huelo ‘oe Taulanga Waitemata moe Funga Tāmaki Makaurau' - a new work by Doctoral student Sione Faletau. 

𝘒𝘶𝘱𝘦𝘴𝘪 𝘚𝘪𝘴𝘪 𝘏𝘶𝘦𝘭𝘰 ‘𝘰𝘦 𝘛𝘢𝘶𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘨𝘢 𝘞𝘢𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘵ā 𝘮𝘰𝘦 𝘍𝘶𝘯𝘨𝘢 𝘛ā𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘪 𝘔𝘢𝘬𝘢𝘶𝘳𝘢𝘶
𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘎𝘢𝘳𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘰𝘧 𝘱𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘓𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘞𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘵ā 𝘏𝘢𝘳𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘈𝘶𝘤𝘬𝘭𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘊𝘪𝘵𝘺. 

Emitting its light onto the water and into the environment Kupesi Sisi Huelo ‘oe Taulanga Waitemata moe Funga Tamaki Makaurau adorns the Lightship, harbour, and city. A sisi (garland) of light beams (huelo), this patterned adornment was created from and for the spaces of the Port and its surroundings. 

Behind the words:

Sisi in the Tongan culture is an important type of garland. It consists of fresh, fragrant tropical flowers of different colours, neatly woven and plaited together in layers with the best (fungani) at the top and greenery at the bottom. Sisi are used to adorn distinguished guests and people of importance; are worn around the neck as a necklace or around the waist.

Kupesi is the Tongan word for patterns. Prominent in several Tongan artforms, kupesi are a form of adornment in themselves. They adorn the canvas of the ngatu (tapa cloth) and lalava (lashings, the technology of binding) and carvings. They tell of tradition, histories, places, and contexts. Ultimately kupesi is a medium that communicates the Tongan world view.

'Kupesi Sisi Huelo ‘oe Taulanga' is both sisi and kupesi: a garland of patterns in light and colour; composed from sounds of the site it adorns. Extracted audio wave spectrum from sounds recorded at the Ports of Auckland, the Waitemata Harbour and Auckland CBD provided the artist with high, medium and low frequencies. 

Generating visual patterns from this raw sonic material, the artist reimagines these spaces through the sense of listening. Then, in adorning them, encourages us to honour what is not easily perceived but provides these sites their inherent quality. 'Kupesi Sisi Huelo ‘oe Taulanga Waitemata moe Funga Tamaki Makaurau' respect the culture, histories and living entities of our harbour and city, gracing, and marking these elements.

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Last updated: 15 October 2021