from ‘Panoramic view of the Aratiatia Rapids’ by Jiaqiao Liu. The first in a series of nine responses to the Mīharo Wonder exhibition.
“While Mīharo Wonder is moored to the walls and arrested in its cases, its imaginative scope ranges freely – here is the best possible evidence of that.” — Peter Ireland, Mīharo Wonder co-curator
Writers encounter Mīharo Wonder
Wonder is a place where writing often begins — and each year, during the first six weeks of the MA in Creative Writing at the International Institute of Modern Letters, we set exercises designed to unlock the kind of wondering unique to each writer. In April 2021 we brought the MA students to the Mīharo exhibition in the hope that some of the resonant objects, images and artefacts might prompt stories, poems or essays. We gave them no brief other than to choose an exhibit and pursue the lines of imagination it prompted.
For these writers, encounters with the past have become acts of invention as well as recovery and re-evaluation. The exhibition becomes an observatory in which old stories give birth to new, the past is encountered with fresh eyes and transformed through the lens of the present. The writing presented here is only a sample of the work produced, and we imagine work by other writers will come to fruition in future. We’re grateful to National Library staff Peter Ireland, Anthony Tedeschi and Fiona Oliver for providing additional insight and background to the exhibition and to Mary Hay and Jay Buzenberg for publishing the student’s work on the website. And we hope you enjoy the wondering Mīharo has produced.
Chris Price, Tina Makereti and Kate Duignan
First response by here. They will continue each week.