Lisa Reihana | Ngāpuhi: Ngāti Hine, Ngāi Tu | New Zealand b.1964 |
Vincent sitting (from Digital Marae 2001–ongoing) 2007, printed 2010.
Reflected is Hinewai (from Digital Marae 2001–ongoing) 2001.
at Unnerved: The New Zealand Project, GoMa
“Digital Marae is an architectural piece that makes reference to Māori architecture and the interior decoration of the Wharenui combining photography and video,” Lisa Reihana.
An ongoing project, Digital Marae began in 2001 and has been exhibited in New Zealand and around the world. Lisa Reihana investigates the concept of the marae (meeting place). In Maori culture, the marae is a place where people come together, and is traditionally bound by complex protocols. Architectural components of the marae serve to pass on family knowledge and to create a sense of belonging. The wharenui (physical structure of the meeting house) represents the body of the ancestor, while the poupou (carved figures) that line its sides represent individual ancestors.
Reihana presents powerful mythological figures as life-size photographs, rather than the traditional poupou. The figures encapsulate Maori tribal stories — of gods and demons, pain and revenge, and greed and lust.
‘Unnerved’ explores a particularly rich dark vein that recurs in New Zealand contemporary art and cinema. Psychological or physical unease pervades many works in the exhibition, with humour, parody and poetic subtlety among the strategies used by artists across generations and genres.
Lisa Reihana | In conversation with Maud Page, Senior Curator, Pacific Art, Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art, Brisbane | Filmed during the opening weekend program of Unnerved: The New Zealand Project | 1 May – 4 July 2010.