Terima Whakatau

Screenshot 2023 01 27 At 1.58.17 PM

Artist bio

Te Rima Whakatau, is an Auckland based self-taught fine artist whenua to Aotearoa where he had been drawing from a very young age which his skill with graphite and charcoal developed drastically alongside his sexuality as the years progressed.

His practice explores his own conceptual and visual language that is influenced from pop art and hyper-realism. A play on both submissive and dominant narratives, invites the intimacy between artist, artist work and viewer and the relationship of interpretation.

Growing up religious and taken out of kura kaupapa, Te Rima felt the oppression of desire and the intergenerational trauma of oppression. Though not fluent in te reo maori, he speaks his reo his detailed drawings as means of connection to his tipuna.

On his work for Te Tīmatanga 2023, Terima notes

"This series of work is a demonstration of 21st century queerness and what that would look like for takatapuitanga. Having representations that we can relate to fully is adequate after suffering generations of racial trauma and colonisation. We owe the reclamation of our identity to our ancestors and I depict these drawings as documents immortalising us for generations ahead.

We are seen as frivolous and a decorative bonus to civilisation, despite the fact that our desires are eternal, our interpretations of them are not.

This body of work is made up of graphite and charcoal carefully illustrated to work around the male form. Placement and contrast are tools used create a narrative of pride but an undertone of doubt, and reservation. Having no interest in ta moko for so many years, organically the art form implemented itself into the practice in a way that could be explored in many various ways."

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