Join us for the opening preview of Iho a photographic exhibition by postgraduate student Awhina Kerr.
Ko Hikurangi me Rangitoto nga maunga,
Ko Ngati Porou me Maniapoto nga Iwi,
Ko Awhina toku ingoa
This body of work explores the Iho, or ‘essential qualities’ that I believe connect Maori women to core aspects of their cultural identity. Through the use of historical conventions of portrait photography and combining them with motifs and symbols of power, nature, colonialism and the land, these works open up a dialogue between the past and the present and a woman’s internal and external journey of identity in this world.
Whenua / Whenua is heart. It is the birth, it is the connection, it is the land. As a homage to Hineahuone, the first woman, “there the woman can be found, untouched, select and sacred, for she possesses the essence of humankind”.
Kawakawa / This leafy plant is a paradox of both healing and death – it is used as a traditional medicine (rongoa) and as a headpiece for those in mourning at tangihana.
Pou / Living under both positive and negative racial sterotypes is a burden to bear for contemporary Maori women, along with a responsibility to uphold and pass on traditions and customs.
Ruru / Ruru is a kaitiaki, or guardian, that alerts that change is coming when you hear its call.
Shroud of the Long White Cloud / Symbolic of colonial suppression and power affecting the value of wahine within the culture.
Tu Tonu / Standing strong in the face of adversity and rising above, against the odds.
E Tangi / A song of lament to the loss of a daughter, a call across time to the ancestors.
Wahine / Being ‘Wa’ and ‘hine’. ‘Wa’ meaning time and space and ‘hine’ meaning female essence. This image is really a celebration and acknowledgement of the past and present.
'Iho' will be open on Thursday 24 Nov at 5:30pm and Tuesday 29 November from 12:30 - 4pm or by appointment.