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Saturday, 25 November 2017 08:37 pm

Cultural divide in Aotearoa inspires thought-provoking art

Artist Gina Matchett hopes to trigger a change through her exhibition “Are yous OK”. IMAGE Aroha Miller.

Glass impaled into an otherwise sparkly and beautifully-made bed shows Gina Matchett does not think Aotearoa New Zealand is “okay”.

The bed artwork, titled The Hoha, is part of Matchett’s latest exhibition “Are Yous Okay”.

The exhibition runs at Toi Poneke until November 11 and Gina wants it to illustrate the cultural divide.

“Most of it came from a real realisation that there was a big divide happening between Maori and Pakeha in New Zealand.

“I mean there’s always somewhat of a divide.

“But I’ve really noticed it in the last three years.

“We’ve been living overseas so I really noticed a change coming back after seven years, and I actually thought situations like homelessness and poverty had got really bad, so it was a way of articulating that.”

With bright colourful and interesting designs it, you really have to take a close look to understand the significance and meaning behind such a powerful statement and thought process.

The Hoha is a good example.

“The uncomfortable bed, it’s probably the most hard hitting for me, it looks slightly beautiful from a distance and then people get up close and realise there’s glass impaled into it.

“Probably because it’s directed at the politicians and the Government in the last nine years, saying  how can you sleep in your bed when lots of people don’t have beds to sleep in.

“I wanted to create this discomfort and push people out of their comfort  zone.”

Asked how New Zealand culture of today influenced her art and creativity Gina says: “Generally I have a mixture because I’m Maori and have European ancestry.

“What I do is I’m really interested in Maori knowledge and techniques.

“So what I try to do is I always use contemporary materials and try to incorporate either Maori pattern, or not really Maori materials but I usually use a Te Reo component in it as well.”

Gina hopes to trigger change.

“I suppose what I want to do is get people to really think about the situation that New Zealand  is in and what are the things that they can do to make a change in, and to still emphasize that there IS a real divide.

“Because I think a lot of people are thinking that that’s all taken care of, Maori have progressed, that the treaty is settled. But Maori are still struggling.”

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