Exhibition: Ko Aotearoa Tenei
The mixing of races has been common in Aotearoa New Zealand since the arrival of Europeans. However, what it means to be someone of mixed identity remains ambiguous. Being of mixed heritage often feels like you are pulled between two worlds, either representing Māori or Pākehā. Ko Aotearoa Tenei: This is New Zealand! is an attempt to resolve this conflict. I am both Māori and Pākehā and proudly acknowledge the importance of each culture as it contributes to my identity.
The show featured portraits of prominent ancestors from both cultures, digitally reimagined in a 2D graphic design aesthetic. The figures were created within a single composition, referencing pou-tāhuhu, a type of carved pillar found within wharewhakairo (carved meeting-houses).
A Māori design aesthetic is applied to Pākehā figures to draw them into the Māori world. At the same time, European design sensibilities inform the illustrations of Māori ancestors. Borrowing from Māori carving and contemporary graphic design, the result is a unique fusion of illustration elements that reflect both cultures. New Zealanders featured in the portraits include, Maui Tikitiki-a-Taranga, James Cook, Raharuhi Rukupo, Kate Sheppard, Michael Joseph Savage, Apirana Ngata, Whina Cooper, Edmund Hillary, David Lange, William James Te Wehi Taitoko (Billy T James) and Helen Clark.
Giclee archival print on 260gsm Lustre archival paper.
Limited edition of 5. Unframed: 1400mm x 686mm.