'Cultural dislocation' sparks 'Pania' theme

Dunedin artist Hana Aoake in her installation Pania;;;Parahitiki  at V-Space in the University of Otago College of Education and Otago Polytechnic's Robertson Library yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.
Dunedin artist Hana Aoake in her installation Pania;;;Parahitiki at V-Space in the University of Otago College of Education and Otago Polytechnic's Robertson Library yesterday. Photo by Craig Baxter.

An identity crisis has a Dunedin artist putting down roots in the University of Otago College of Education and Otago Polytechnic's Robertson Library this week.

''I'm appropriating the Pania of the Reef sculpture, to examine my cultural dislocation from being and feeling Maori,'' Dunedin artist Hana Aoake said yesterday.

''I'm interested in both sides of my family and I have a complicated post-colonial identity. It's an ethnography based on me feeling like a plastic Maori.''

The work features Aoake (24) draped in her grandmother's blanket, surrounded by rocks her father got from mines he worked in and botanic samples collected from places around New Zealand where the artist has lived.

''I'm interested in ecological imperialism and the complexity of post-colonial identities and how the settlers unsettled the equilibrium everywhere they went,'' she said.

''I've been working as a florist and gardener for the last two years and have been learning a lot about weeds and natives. I have pieces of plants from each of the cities I've been spending time in: Christchurch, Dunedin, Wellington and Auckland.''

The performance also features a video of Aoake humming Pokarekare Ana in the Dunedin Botanic Garden.

Pania;;;Parahitiki is on at the Robertson Library V-Space from 1pm to 3pm until Friday.

Aoake and V-Space curator Ted Whitaker will give a talk at 3.30pm tomorrow.

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