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HE WAIATA WHAIAIPO, 19 MAY - 13 JUNE 2009
Bartley Company Art is proud to present this new body of work by Rachael Rakena - a leading Maori exponent of digital media. This is her first solo exhibition in several years and follows her highly acclaimed collaborations which have featured in prestigious international art events including the Busan Biennale 2008, the Venice Biennale 2007 and the Sydney Biennale 2006.
In addition to the obvious examination of the cultural specificities of food, He Waiata Whaiaipo is a love song in moving image employing the act of eating as a metaphor to play out ideas about desire, pursuit and fulfilment. A solitary and self-contained figure, eats at the table of Tangaroa (the god of the sea) in a dark world which is at once sensuous and forbidding - evoking narratives of Narcissus, Maui and Hine nui Te Po. Water has been a prominent feature of Rakena's work and it surfaces again here poetically providing an amniotic medium for love and culture.
Rachael Rakena, who has a Master of Fine Arts (Distinction) and is a lecturer at Toioho ki Apiti, School of Maori Studies, Massey University, has coined the term Toi Rerehiko as a means of describing and locating her practice. Toi Rerehiko, which plays on rorohiko the Maori word for computer, is a digital media art form immersed in Maori tikanga (customs) and values.