A koru is a trajectory

Heidi Brickell, A koru is a trajectory, 2024, installation view. Courtesy of Cheska Brown.

Heidi Brickell, A koru is a trajectory, 2024, installation view. Courtesy of Cheska Brown.

18 May – 29 Jun

Heidi Brickell

A koru is a trajectory is an exhibition originating from Heidi Brickell’s 2023 Rita Angus Residency, jointly organised by Enjoy and the Rita Angus Cottage Trust. During Brickell’s residency, she spent time connecting with her whenua, researching her legendary tūpuna Kupe and Tara and collecting rākau from Ōtaki and rimurapa from the shores of Te Raekaihau.


Brickell has collaborated with the whenua, moana and atua in the creation of all works in A koru is a trajectory. Rākau sanded by Tangaroa has been lovingly twined by Brickell in varying shades of blue, resulting in contorted sculptural forms that embody the relationship between sea and land—Tangaroa and Tāne. Rimurapa washed ashore has been taken into the artist's care and warped to reflect its tumultuous journey from the moana to the whenua, much like tūpuna Māori who navigated Te Moana-nui-a-Kiwa.

Racing cyclone Gabrielle across the motu to arrive at the residency and watching its destruction unfold across her home city of Tāmaki Makaurau and her rohe on the East Coast, the duration of Brickell’s residency was dominated by the cloud of ongoing ecological and economical disasters. Rimurapa plays an important role in cooling our oceans, but grows scarcer in response to their warming.

A koru is a trajectory is a phrase that came to Brickell as a parallel reflection on the macro forces of late global capitalism and the environmental crises it ever accelerates, and also on how the koru form that pervades mātauranga Māori is a fundamental shape of the physics and of navigation that on a micro level, the body comes to learn how to weather.



Heidi Brickell (Te Hika o Papauma, Ngāti Apakura, Ngāti Kahungunu, Rangitāne, Ngāi Tara, Rongomaiwahine) has recently moved to Ōtaki from Tāmaki Makaurau. With a background in Kura Kaupapa Māori education and te reo Māori revitalisation, her art work explores the passages between experience and representation as different language trees and the knowledge they carry intermingle in the psyche. Her installation Wai Ata Āta Whāia was included this year in Te Puna o Waiwhetū | Christchurch Art Gallery’s ‘Spring Time is Heartbreak’, and her solo exhibition PAKANGA FOR THE LOSTGIRL travelled the motu in 2022 and 2023 from St Paul’s Street Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau, to The Physics Room, Ōtautahi, to The Engine Room, Te Whānganui a-Tara.

Brickell completed her MFA at Elam School of Fine arts in 2011 and was 2021 recipient of the Akel Award Molly Morpeth Canaday painting award. She completed the Rita Angus Residency in March 2023 and a residency at Karekare House in 2021. Her work is held in private collections, at Christchurch Art Gallery and The Dowse.