Brenda Kesi

Born 1937

Brenda was a young girl during the turmoil of World War II and she remembers the 1951 eruption of Dahore Huvaemo (Mount Lamington). Brenda's mother was Go'ovino and her father was Valéla, both Ematé clanspeople from old Enopé village between the Jordan and Maruma Rivers.

It was here that her mother taught her how to sew her grandmother, Munne's, sihoti'e taliobamë'e - designs of the mud. This method of appliquéing mud-dyed barkcloth was first practiced by Suja, the first woman and mother of the world, as told in the Ömie creation story.

Brenda has begun to teach her sister Teresa Kione (Avur'e) to sew the ancestral Ömie sihoti'e designs such as wo'ohohe - ground-burrowing spider and taigu taigu'e - ancestral tattoo designs. Brenda lives happily by the Jordan River with her husband Robinson Kesi.

Her work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa; the National Gallery of Australia; and the Museum of Archaeology and Anthroopolgy, University of Cambridge, UK.

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