is a continuing series of limited edition prints exploring my own identity and has been exhibited through the various prints through numerous exhibitions - most predominantly the N8VLaB collaborative exhibitions with MIchel Tuffrey and Flox.
Growing up in an urban environment meant that I was more influenced by popular culture as opposed to Måori culture. Like other kids my age I was into video games and cartoons and played with my G.I. Joes with the occasional trip to the bush to play bow and arrows or ninjas.
Although we identified as being Måori, there was no physical evidence of anything Måori… besides the Poi e single on vinyl that is. So my work has a lot to do with identity – how we form it, hide it and reveal it.
Super heroes have always been a part of popular culture… concealing their identity behind the mask in order to protect themselves and others. Facial ta moko was customarily used to communicate one’s identity. It hides the physical yet declares status/rank etc. It has had a huge resurgence in the last few years becoming increasingly a part of popular culture both with Måori and non-Måori alike sparking discussions around appropriation, and how Måori can protect their intellectual property.
To me the fusion of customary practice with pop culture creates an interesting tension – a mask that both declares and conceals identity.
molly morpeth art award
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