Inspired by Hamilton’s recently opened concept garden The Rise and Fall of the Titoki wall mural created for the 2018 Boon Art Festival combines classic Flox elements of flora and native fauna with the garden’s planting; and acknowledges the aligning, conservation-based philosophies which are an integral part of her own creative practice.
The concept garden artfully integrates two traditional whakataukii (Māori proverbs) with the representation of nine land uses: pasture, native bush, urban areas, horticulture, tussock grassland, coniferous forest, scrubland, wetland and waterways. The message from these diverse elements is that while humans may attempt to conquer nature, it will ultimately persevere.
The Rise and Fall of the Titoki pays homage to this philosophy of nature and conservation with a central pair of native birds in the form of female Huia figures. One of these now-extinct birds is ghosted in the earthy, ochre tones of tetoki, anointed by Māori on those who have died, symbolising past failures; while to the forefront is a fully-fledged version, the representation of future opportunities. There is the sense that balance has been lost and needs to be addressed in many areas of society including the areas of ecology, culture and gender. These figures are backed with an outward flowing starburst that reflects the natural elements of the concept gardens: water, roses, citrus, grass, conifers, tussock, shrubby tororaro, manuka, oioi grasses.
Through a process of using large format, hand-cut stencils elements are formed via overlapping colours of aerosol spray paint onto a large urban wall, Flox uses her art once again to be inspired by and reflect local concerns while supporting a message of love for the beauty and guardianship of the precious native taonga of Aotearoa.