A Lawyer and a builder
My uncle drives out to my house with his mate a builder
They talk in builder talk where a variety of grunts has meaning
I wonder whether I should do the girl thing and make a cuppa tea
Instead I dare to be unlike they were expecting and grunt too
They look a bit confused but I think they are just confused by my feminine accent
I try to get a grunt out with more resonance, more depth
Now they really are beginning to take a second look at me
I decide to talk in my own housewife-don’t-mess-with-me voice
“I really want to get rid of those aluminium windows, I want wooden ones”
If my uncles mate didn’t understand my grunts, he understands this less
“Why you want to get rid of those for, you have to paint the wood ones every five years”
He shakes his head and looks suspiciously at my uncle, who looks away
We move into another room for his inspection, no cuppa tea closer
This looks good says the builder in animated tones, no grunting at all
I imitate my uncles no nonsense voice this time, anything for a kick, I am a housewife
I want all that concrete exposed and that ceiling replaced, that wall out but then I smile pleasantly
The grunting starts again, they don’t want me to understand
My uncle takes his mate outside and I hear him say
I told you she was different, she can’t just have any old builder
She needs someone who won’t talk down to her, who won’t mind her being odd
She’s always been different this one, my uncle looks over to me
She might not sound all together but she’s a lawyer, yeah man she is
They both look at me so I smile and say, cuppa tea, I’ll just put the jug on
Tracey Tawhiao (c) 2010
Born in 1967, of Ngãi Te Rangi, Tuwharetoa and Whakatõhea descent. She lives in Piha, New Zealand.
Bachelor of Arts (BA) Classical Studies major: Otago University, Dunedin, and Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Otago University and Auckland University.
Tracey is a multi-disciplined contemporary artist who has studied and worked in a variety of fields. She is a writer, performance poet, filmmaker, qualified lawyer and a leading Mãori artist. She is a published poet and as an artist she has exhibited works nationally and internationally including, New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Paris, Le Havre, Tahiti, Taipei and Melbourne. Her artworks impart her experience and position as a Mãori woman in colonised society. She has been a full time Artist for 20 years.
Tawhiao employs the use of newspaper in her artwork, obscuring passages and using boldly coloured pastel and simple graphic symbols that reflect Mãori rock art and Maori mythology. By painting over the often negative news she subverts the viewer to an alternative, Mãori perspective, creating her own news stories by colonising the headlines.
www.traceytawhiao.com is Tawhiao’s One Hundred Poems Blog. Below her featured artwork, we have featured one of her poems.
Tawhiao is the Director of Tawhiao Limited, a Creative Company for creating exhibitions, projects and shows. She is the Director of House of Taonga Salon, www.houseoftaonga.com, a house of natural flow for artists to create and share.
Ms. Tawhiao invites you to please google her name if you want more information.