The 30 acceptance in the MA (Creative Writing) workshops at Victoria University’s International Institute of Modern Belletrist visited Mīharo Wonder. Our ‘Encountering Mīharo’ blog alternation will allotment students’ anxious and all-embracing responses.
Wonder is a abode area autograph generally begins — and anniversary year, during the aboriginal six weeks of the MA in Creative Autograph at the International Institute of Modern Letters, we set contest advised to alleviate the affectionate of apprehensive different to anniversary writer. In April 2021 we brought the MA acceptance to the Mīharo exhibition in the achievement that some of the beating objects, images and artefacts ability alert stories, balladry or essays. We gave them no abrupt added than to accept an affectation and accompany the curve of acuteness it prompted.
For these writers, encounters with the accomplished accept become acts of apparatus as able-bodied as accretion and re-evaluation. The exhibition becomes an anchor in which old belief accord bearing to new, the accomplished is encountered with beginning eyes and adapted through the lens of the present. The autograph presented actuality is alone a sample of the assignment produced, and we brainstorm assignment by added writers will appear to accomplishment in future. We’re beholden to National Library agents Peter Ireland, Anthony Tedeschi and Fiona Oliver for accouterment added acumen and accomplishments to the exhibition and to Mary Hay and Jay Buzenberg for publishing the student’s assignment on the website. And we achievement you adore the apprehensive Mīharo has produced.
Chris Price, Tina Makereti and Kate Duignan
“While Mīharo Wonder is anchored to the walls and arrested in its cases, its artistic ambit ranges advisedly – actuality is the best accessible affirmation of that.” — Peter Ireland, Mīharo Wonder co-curator
“But Mr Eagle, can’t we aloof attending at this being online?” said Benjamin the fourteen-year-old in the thirteen-year-old class, and Simon Eagle, attractive about him, approved to anticipate of a way to explain the amount of experiencing art. The cabineted items and abounding frames remained silent, attractive in every administration but his own.
“How about you accept a attending about and appear aback to me in ten account if you’re still struggling,” he paused to bright his throat abaft a about clenched fist. “You ability alike acquisition article you like.”
Benjamin didn’t assume to accept listened, and instead threw his scrunched up worksheet into Simon’s face. It took them both by surprise. Benjamin’s aperture affronted into a babyish ‘o’, while Simon pulled his amateur back, his distinct adornment agitation aback and alternating with the movement.
Then, absolutely suddenly, Benjamin sat bottomward abutting to Simon.
“I’m apologetic I threw that cardboard at you, mister.”
“It’s okay,” Simon said sadly, “but you’ve got to stop accomplishing being like this. You could get in absolute agitation if Mrs Lee saw you.”
“But I wouldn’t bandy it at Mrs Lee,” he replied, acrimonious the cardboard brawl up from the attic and capacity it into his aback pocket.
Simon hesitated for a moment. He looked at Benjamin’s lips, which were absurd but at the aforementioned time slathered in saliva. Simon anticipation they were a appropriate shape, attenuate at the edges and a little chapped in the join. Again the aperture said, “are you okay?”
“Me? Yeah, I’m fine. Are you okay?”
“Yeah, I’m accomplished too. Hey mister, I was wondering,” he bankrupt and opened his aperture again, “why do you abrasion that blush button on all your shirts?”
Simon hesitated again. “They’re, they’re my mother’s. I begin them in her old bed-making kit. So I sew them on my shirts as a array of…” he paused to pedal his easily through the air, “connection.”
“Oh, that’s cool. Hey, do you accept a partner, Mr Eagle?”
There was article in the catechism that both ashen Simon and fabricated him feel adamantine edged. The affection of a lamington.
“You can’t absolutely ask questions like that, Benjamin. But yes, I do accept a partner.”
“Is it a boy or a girl?”
That’s a catechism for affiliated couples who bandy babyish showers, Simon capital to say. “A boy,” he said instead.
“Is that why you abrasion the blush button?”
“No. Able-bodied yes, and no.”
They stared at the arena for a while, alienated eye acquaintance with one another.
“I apperceive I’m meant to do it myself, but do you account you could advice me with that worksheet? The letters, they’ve been,” he confused his larboard duke in the air as admitting patting an abstract basketball, “jumping around.”
Simon abounding through his adhesive until he begin a additional worksheet, and fished a pen out from his satchel.
“Okay, able-bodied aboriginal things first, accept a allotment of art from the gallery.”
“Them,” Benjamin said, pointing appear the account blind the closest. Central the anatomy was a built-in woman in a blubbery atramentous dress, who looked tired, about captivation the duke of a adolescent girl, who looked angry. Simon stood to analysis the appellation agenda below the anatomy and jotted bottomward anonymous woman and child, woman captivation child’s hand.
“Okay then, why’d you accept this one?”
“It’s in advanced of us.”
Simon aloft his eyebrows.
“Well… the anatomy is nice too. Actual gold.” He paused to see whether the acknowledgment was enough, and afterwards a few beats of silence, bound added “and there’s that tiny agenda in the woman’s hand, so I assumption that’s affectionate of interesting. It’s like it could be some affectionate of appropriate secret.”
Simon scribbled article down. “Nice work. Look, we’re already halfway. Third question. How does it accomplish you feel?”
Benjamin bankrupt his mouth, averseness about with article central him. “Can’t you do this one for me, mister?”
Simon paused, averseness about with article central of him, too. He looked into the eyes of the earlier woman, acquainted the anguish of her amateur and the weight of the letter in her palm. Benjamin peered at the babyish girl, acquainted the scowl in her brows and the abandoned butt of her mother.
“How about I account off some affections and you accept one?” Simon said.
“Happy. Sad. Scared. Angry. Excited. Curious. Any of those angle out?”
“All of them.”
Simon took the pen aback to t
“Okay. And why does it accomplish you feel that way?”
Benjamin stood up then, absolved so abutting to the anatomy that Simon wondered if he was activity to accept to acquaint him to footfall back. But Benjamin affronted to airing aback to the bench, and already seated, said, “cause they attending aloof like me and you.”
Simon acquainted his eyebrows relax. Article actual babyish had confused central him. It could accept been his breakfast authoritative its way about added comfortable, but in that moment he absitively it was the array of awareness that bodies acquisition difficult to name. He could bethink a few times he had acquainted it — like the time he accustomed a hug from a babe alleged Kirana who lived abutting to him in Waikanae. They were six and he had aloof barbate his toe and cried out for help. Again there was the ride aback from his aboriginal affair in the city, aback he looked out the window at the Kapiti Coast and acquainted the ocean was aperture up to him. There was a bleared accumulating of the canicule he woke with annihilation added than a admiration to watch whatever was activity on alfresco his window. It was a appropriate game, this act of retrieval. No amount area he put his attention, annihilation anytime looked the aforementioned as it already did. So as Simon looked bottomward at Benjamin bitter his nails, his thoughts ballooning as he advised the portraits aural himself, aural Benjamin, the them aural anybody and the anybody aural them — he did not apperceive whether this would be one of the moments he would booty with him.
Then, a drag of footsteps, the choir of acceptance beat their pens, a coast of the automated doors, and the acute of Mrs Lee’s articulation adage it was time for lunch. But afore continuing to advice conductor acceptance out into the foyer, he brought his duke aback to Benjamin’s worksheet, jotted article down, bankrupt it up, and handed it to him.
A babyish 1/6 bowl daguerreotype in an arresting amber morocco case with missing cover. The dimunitive ambit of the article itself (9.4 x 8.2 cm) are askew by a abundant larger, colour book fabricated for the exhibition. Both the book and the aboriginal photograph are on affectation in Mīharo Wonder.
Portrait of Mary Ann Rhodes as a child, and best acceptable her grandmother, Sarah King. Photograph taken about 1854-1856, by an anonymous photographer. Ref: PA10-060. Alexander Turnbull Library.
Visit Mīharo Wonder at the National Library in WellingtonExperience the Mīharo Wonder online exhibitionRead the Encountering Mīharo blog seriesRead the Mīharo Wonder blogs
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