He Tangata toa ki te Waiata (The Great Singer)

Gina Matchitt (b.1966) 2004 © All rights reserved See full details

Object Detail

This work is from a series called 'Geyserland Hotel' that was exhibited at Anna Miles Gallery in Auckland in May 2004. The works in this series were inspired by Matchitt's childhood in Rotorua. The 1970s in Rotorua were characterised by a heavy tourist presence and the responses to this by Maori in the area. What developed can be described as 'Maori-vegas', a kitsch tourist economy that relied on Maori performers 'playing Maori'...kapa haka groups and 'Maori maiden' tour guides, bright colours, plastic costumes and a generation of Maori entertainers that became Matchitt's role models. This particular work includes images of John Rowles, rearranged into a taniko pattern. Other works in the series use images of Kiri Te Kanawa and June Grant. Matchitt considers these works to be celebratory of Maori ingenuity and modernisty. Her use of more traditional forms and patterns within these works 'give them mana' according to Matchitt.

Catalogue text from artist: 'Geyserland Hotel pays tribute to famous Maori who were my role models in 1970s Rotorua. In this era, positive images of Maori were less visible than they are today. I thank these stars for their talent and inspiration.'
He Tangata toa ki te Waiata (The Great Singer)
Production date
laminated magnets, paint, metal
board: 1200mm (diameter)
disks: 40mm (diameter)
Credit line
Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, purchased 2004
Accession number