Essentially Maori: a Maori art paradigm
‘Essentially Maori’ is about contesting space for Maori art, not only relative to New Zealand art but also within the broader context of international art. By its very nature the ethnic labelling of Maori art is an essentialist act aimed at arguing that Maori art can be different to art created by ‘other’ cultures. In this respect the paper promotes a paradigm called He Tataitanga Kaupapa Toi in which form, content and the genealogy of the artist are critical determinants for Maori cultural relativity and relevance. Each of these determinants is contextualised relative to a Maori worldview and pertinent western theoretical perspectives that together intertwine in understanding form, content and genealogy within a transcultural context of change that occurred as a consequence of European settlement. At the heart of contesting space for Maori art is the naming of form, content and genealogy in the language of the culture and from a Maori world view. This is fundamental in establishing a paradigm that is meaningful for Maori in terms of cultural relativity and relevance. That is, for making the art acceptable and accessible for Maori
Feature Speaker Bio
Born in 1951 in Waipiro Bay he lives and works in Palmerston North. Bob is best known for his sculptural practice. Graduating with an MFA with honours in graphic design from the Elam School of Art in 1978 he went on to complete an MFA in experimental film animation at the California Institute of the Arts in 1980 and a PhD in Māori Studies in 2006. He is responsible for setting up the first Maori visual arts degree in a university: a Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts in 1995, a Postgraduate Diploma of Maori Visual Arts and a Master of Maori Visual Arts in 1999. He contributes to Maori Development through his teaching at undergraduate and postgraduate level, his research into traditional Maori carving and his academic writing straddling art education, contemporary and traditional Maori art, and identity politics. His practice over the years has straddled design, illustration, animation and sculpture. Since his solo exhibition in 1990 Jahnke has maintained his practice as a sculptor with a number of commissions and exhibitions. Recently his practice has included painting and a suite of neon works. He is represented in a number of major national and private collections in Aotearoa New Zealand.