Ko te hei tiki kei te pūtake o tēnei toi whakaahua a Aimee Ratana, he toi e whakaara ai i ngā kaupapa e pā ana ki te tuakiri, ki te whakapapa, ki te tūturutanga. Ka taea te kī atu he taonga tuku iho te hei tiki kāpia, te hei tiki kirihou? Ko te hei tiki he tohu mōhiotia whānuitia, hei tohu i te tuakiri a te Māori. Heoi anō, kāore te ringa toi i whakaahua i te kōiwi, i te pounamu rānei – ko tāna kē he arotahi ki te hei tiki kirihou i kitea nuitia i ngā mākete tāpoi i Aotearoa nei i ngā tau 1970, 1980 hoki. Ko te whakamahinga i te hei tiki hei mea hokohoko noa he take i aro ai a Ratana nā te mea i whakaarahia te pātai e pā ana ki te tūturutanga o te mea. Kei te whakaata tēnei take i te kaupapa o te tuakiri ake o Ratana. E ai ki a ia:
Kei roto te hei tiki kirihou hokohoko nā te mea he whakaatu i tōku tuakiri, i tāku mahi. Ko tāku awhero he whakatūhono i te hei tiki kirihou ki te taonga tuku iho i takea mai ai. He ōrite tēnei ki ahau anō, e tūhono tonu ana ki tōku iwi, ki tōku Māoritanga.
Kei te whakamātautau ia i ētahi tikanga e whakamahi ai i te whakawhiti-hatepe ā-tae huhua, ka mutu kei te whakarahi ngā whakaahua nunui nei i te rākeitanga iti noa kia nui tōna mana e whakaaturia ana i ngā rohe tae ā-wairua e whakatuwhera ai i ngā wāhi pohewa e tiaho ai te ata me te mea.
The hei tiki (breast pendant) provides the simple inspiration for this photographic work by Aimee Ratana, which acts as a catalyst to explore issues of identity, whakapapa (geneology) and authenticity. Can resin and plastic hei tiki be taonga tuku iho (treasured items passed down)? The hei tiki form is a strong, easily identifiable symbol of identity for Māori. However, instead of opting to photograph bone or pounamu (jade) the artist chose to focus on plastic hei tiki of the kind that swamped the New Zealand tourist market in the 1970s and 80s. This commodification of hei tiki intrigued Ratana because it brought into focus questions about authenticity of an object. This issue also frames how Ratana negotiates her own identity. She explains:
My work incorporates the commodified plastic hei tiki as my explicit signifier to identify myself and my work. I attempt to reconnect the plastic hei tiki to taonga tuku iho from which they were originally appropriated. Similar to my personal journey in which I will continue to reconnect myself to my iwi [tribe] and Māoritanga [Māori culture and traditions].
Experimenting with various colour cross-processing techniques and exposure times, Ratana’s large photographic prints amplify this once small adornment item into a commanding figure captured in moody colour fields which open up surreal terrains in which the hei tiki as image and object illuminates.
- Hei Tiki 2
- Production date
- digital c-type print
- 1100 x 1467 mm
- Credit line
- Courtesy of the artist
- Accession no
- Copying restrictions apply
- New Zealand Art
- Display status
- Not on display
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