Te Ia Tangata
by Rachel Rakena for SCAPE Public Art Season 2016
Rachael Rakena (Ngāi Tahu), shows Poutereraki (2011), with additional video works and the new wall-based takarangi (spiral forms) made using electrical cabling. Poutereraki is the darkest realm of Te Pō (the night). In Māori cosmology Hineatauira (also known as Hinetitama) fled in shame and grief from the world of light, through the realms of Te Pō, to arrive at Poutereraki where she resides as Hinenuitepō, the great woman of the night. In Rakena’s installation dark suffocating images are paired with black oil blobs to evoke notions of destruction, drowning and a search for the unattainable. As with all of Rakena’s work, references to the mythological are conflated with references to the world. Here the oil blobs building up on the screen surface and through the gallery recall the black tides of the Rena oil spill and become metaphorical stains on dreams.
Rachael Rakena is video artist who works, frequently in collaboration with others, to create richly-layered performative installations, videos and photographs. Of Māori and Pakeha descent (Ngai Tahu, Nga Puhi) Rachael has a Master of Fine Arts (Distinction) and is a Senior Lecturer at Massey University, in Toioho ki Apiti Māori Visual Arts. Known for her collaborative practice she has worked with and included creative contributions from many artists including sculptor Brett Graham, songstress Whirimako Black, opera soprano Deborah Wai Kapohe, and Māori musical instrument experts Richard Nunns, to name a few. Rakena exhibits internationally and her work has been included in major survey and retrospective exhibitions of New Zealand art, and international exhibitions including Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, National Gallery of Canada; Haka Peepshow, The Octagon, Dunedin; Oceania, City Gallery Wellington; FEEDFORWARD: The Angel of History/El angel de la Historia, LABoral Centre for Art and Industrial Creation, Gijon, Spain; Aniwaniwa, 52nd Biennale di Venezia, Venice; World Histories, Des Moines Art Center, Iowa; Voyage without Boundaries, Busan Biennale, South Korea; Pacific Styles, University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, UK; Mo Tatou, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand; Dateline: Contemporary Art from the Pacific, Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin; Telecom Prospect 2007: New Art NZ, Wellington; Zones of Contact, Biennale of Sydney; HIGH TIDE: currents in contemporary Australasian art, Zaçheta National Gallery of Art, Warsaw, and Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania; and Container Culture, 01SJ Biennale, San Jose Museum of Art, California.