Co-existing and human solidarity - with the wonderful Sam Poots.
Firstly, how did you get this nickname Poots?
Poots is actually my last name, but very much a nickname throughout my whole family. I never was really fond with Samantha and friends just leaned towards Poots. Crazy that we are the only ones in NZ with this last name, so it's super special.
How's life in the Hawkes Bay? What things are planned over the summer?
Hawke’s Bay is dreamy, I’m so lucky to be in such a beautiful and inspirational place. I am surrounded by mountains, native bush, wildlife, and coastline, so I can’t complain. The calendar for this summer is filled with many adventures. I'm excited to spend endless days in the water, exploring the hills which inspire my artist creations. I have a few exciting projects, one with you guys (OC) in January and a few art exhibitions.
However, I’m really taking this summer to explore and develop myself, which will get the juices flowing for new works and commissions.
Talk to me about your beliefs around how humans and nature can co-exist? Is this a positive view, or a 'we can do better view'?
It's both, I definitely think everyone can do better, or, be more conscious of our actions and the flow on effects, no doubt we all will be forever learning and adapting. I think being more aware of our environment and the wildlife in it will help us play our part in protecting it. SO much can change in a blink of an eye. If we don’t act now we may have lose what’s so unique and special to New Zealand
This statement on your website also stood out to me: 'The need for solidarity to protect our unique landscape, wildlife, and surrounding oceans is the driving force behind her work.' Talk to me about this - how is this represented in your recent prints?
I feel for people to have appreciation and care for the environment and the drive to protect it. I think we need to have an understanding and love for what we are actually protecting and the importance of it for human survival. I hope that my art creates awareness of these environments, conversation, unity, and how we may achieve that.
A lot of my work illustrates the ‘wild’ and the ‘human’ both in their natural states, which represents the fundamentals, the raw, or the basics of survival. Essentially ‘to reconnect with nature’.
This new series of work was created for an exhibition ‘THe WILDer’ and was driven to express the awakening between humans and nature that we could have. Letting ‘Papatūānuku’/mother nature and her creations teach us to how embrace and breathe the wonders of this world, to get back into sync of life and to stop destroying these treasures yet protect them. Letting the whispers of nature influence our actions. Reconsider the fundamental abilities to survive, challenge our skills as an integration back to the wilder.
So, if we think positively about solidarity, how do you see this POTENTIALLY BEING be in 5 years from now?
Changing our mindset from disposable, single use, and harmful products to supporting companies that are kinder on the environment, that give back what they take. So - planting more trees, funding organisations that are protecting our Taiao, sustainable initiatives that actually make a difference.
Solidarity can be used to correct the tendency to see humans as ontologically separate and above nature, and teaches us that nature is the place we live within - not simply the surrounding raw material that we use to fulfill our own desires.
Solidarity is essential to counter the desire for control and to act ethically. So transparency through the products we consume, understanding how we consume as a species, how consciously we consume, and the type of items that is.
We often talk about the idea of 'Kaitiakitanga' in New Zealand - and we hope that this collaboration plays into that responsibility for you. How do you think brands like Original Canvas can ensure that we are acting in a way that we can have an impact?
I feel like this collaboration was created because of those ideas, don’t you think? Brands like Original Canvas are steering the way in which we create change. The responsibilities the company has taken on for the greater good - thinking of the environment first and then profits as they follow, I think already is having a huge impact.
Hemp is such an amazing product and has so much potential in helping us reduce our plastic consumption and energy resources, personally I think is a pretty big deal. So this process and those practices of protecting and looking after the environment already exist.
As I mentioned in the intro, i f***ing love whales, but besides this –– very excited for our prints to drop on the Original Canvas shop, what do you hope people feel when they take these away? Any words of wisdom for our whānau?
MEEEE TOOO! Such an honour to have this opportunity, and I only hope that these conversations continue. I want people to feel empowered that they have the ability to make change, as sometimes we might feel like we have gone too far and we can’t turn back. However, every little decision matters, and by taking away this print, I hope that it is another step in the right direction for new conversation and change.
Being conscious of what we consume, how we consume, and the impact this has positively or negatively on our environment, means that only then people are able to understand those impacts longterm.
And, for good measure, if you had all the power in the world to do one thing to keep our oceans clean what would it be?
Magically remove EVERY single component of plastic in our ocean, and replace it with abundance of sea life, as the ocean are the fundamentals to our survival - as well as all life on our planet.
Dolphins or penguins?
Who doesn’t get excited about dolphins when you see them in the ocean. Such majestic and intelligent creatures. Definitely a winner.
Kina or oysters?
Oysters purify the water they're growing in and both native and farmed oysters sequester nitrogen and CO2 from the atmosphere. Kina have a rather large impact on the ecosystem when over populated, mainly due to the fact humans are removing their predators.
What's planned for 2021? What can we look out for?
I am slowing still working out the full time life of a freelancer/artist so it will be another year of creating, learning and growing as a person, so no doubt there will be some new working coming through.
Let's hope that 2021 is slightly kinder to our souls.
To purchase one of our limited edition screen prints on hemp fibre by Art of Poots click here.