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Behind the lens...

Erena Baker (Arapere)
Te Atiawa ki Whakarongotai
Ngati Toa Rangatira
Ngati Ruanui

Masters of Māori Visual Arts (First class Honours) - Massey University 2009

I believe the photographic image is the most important innovation in history for memorialising a loved one. No invention captures the essence of a person with such precision and manifests their memory in a physical object. Photographs speak across time and place to create an emotional bond between subject and viewer.

My artistic practice is grounded in a Māori commemorative paradigm. I aim to address the historical relationship between Māori and photography and the ways that Māori reacted to,
and then appropriated the display of ancestral portraiture as a critical ceremonial practice.

Taking into account the historical and contemporary issues relative to Māori photography, my works involve a physical engagement with the notion of mauri, the gaze, gender representation, and commemorative strategies.