Category Archives: Cat

Cat, the Lady of the Manor

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Lady of the Manor first manifested on Sunday, while Cat, Latai and Vicki were playing around in the Bundanon homestead. Cat had come from getting her portrait taken by Doris for her portraiture project, with her face painted in white, and it became fun to shoot against the fireplace in the Bundanon museum. Helen asked if the people from the Bundanon Trust know that they were were there, taking photos, and Cat said they did and were very amused.

Aside from there being photos of Cat in front of thr fireplace in the homestead, there were also photos of Cat in the studio, in front of the Arthur Boyd painting that was on display. Helen points out that the painted face makes it appear to be part of the painting, “but also it looks like there’s an ownership role.”

“There were no preconceived ideas, it was just my face was painted,” Cat shares during the regroup. “(The painted face) deconstructs the body, it’s a reference to Western theater and this character kind of emerged. The river experience today is the next step and hopefully something will come of that.”

The “river experience” involved some shots taken of Cat with her face paint on, but in a bikini and sarong, with a bowl of fruit in the river, and Latai as her manservant. You can refer to this page for pictures.

Helen comments that Cat is “Sort of bringing an artifice to the natural landscape,” and at some point, she transforms from the Lady of the Manor to the Island girl serving the man. Cat agrees, laughing “Yeah, the gender roles keep shifting.”

Other comments from the group were how into the character Latai was and how it helped transform the character of the Lady of the manor (and how dedicated: even when the chair in the river was falling backwards, Latai stayed true to her character and didn’t let go of the sweet potatoes she was holding. Doris also pointed out that the presence of the fruit bowl is like a classic still life, still tying the idea of the Lady of the Manor to painting. In some some of the shots, though it also looks like she’s also wearing too much sunscreen.

Cat says she’s still playing with the idea of the exoticized image and the flatness of it. She’ll see where it goes.

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Filed under Around Bundanon, Cat, Collaboration

When I perform, I just want to really put myself out there

Intro – Cat
Wednesday, November 16, 2011

To introduce herself, Cat Ruka did a pecha kucha, which is a Japanese exercise wherein 20 images are shown for 20 seconds each and Cat will explain each image within those 20 seconds.

Her first image is of a Maori princess looking into a river, but the image is dotted with stickers of smiley faces, a statement about the general perception of Maori culture and her supposed place in it. In succeeding images, there are statements about her relationship with her culture and country that’s very far from the first image. She includes images of her first solo, of her and her regular collaborator, an image she set up to describe her time in New York, of her and her students, and other postcards she made herself which symbolize her approach to her art and practice.

Through this short and quick flashing of images, one gets an immediate sense of Cat’s character and the nature of her dance practice, as well as a glimpse into her philosophies and political standpoint. The pecha kucha also successfully serves to give the observers the yearning to see more of Cat’s work, and keeping this conversation open.

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