Sonja van Kerkhoff
Sonja van Kerkhoff (Hawera, Taranaki, Aotearoa/New Zealand, 1960) was born to a Dutch father and a Scottish-Irish New Zealand mother in a family of nine and raised on a dairy farm under Mount Taranaki. She has exhibited widely since the mid-1980s and has been based in the Netherlands since 1989.
Often her videos, installations, interactive works, sculpture or drawings relate to a type of telling that plays with meanings or associations in lyrical ways. Viewers often need to take action as part of the experience of the work. In the original version of this installation, viewers could not experience all five videos without moving around in the space. She often collaborates with others and many individuals have contributed to "Kāinga a roto" (Home Within), in particular, Toroa Pohatu and Sen McGlinn.
Kāinga a roto (Home Within) is an art-system, consisting of five distinct videos, with sounds, lights and shadows, and a physical space. This art-system is used to represent the complex system of a particular biography (growing up in Taranaki), using a visual language composed of references to the natural world (water in particular, but also earth, wind and bird life) influenced by Māori cultural values.
For the "Uncontainable: second nature" exhibition, she arrived in Istanbul planning to build the physical aspect of the installation from local materials. The wood and cardboard and even the nails are all recycled from materials mainly from a gypsy area of Istanbul. Unable to locate the materials she had expected to find in shops, she found substitutes on the street or bargained with those who make a living from recycling what they find on the streets of Istanbul. So the work incorporates signs of the uncontainable nature of urban Istanbul.
He toa takitini taku toa, ehara i te toa takitahi
Success is not individual but collective.
New Zealand Māori proverb