Ayesha Green’s solo exhibition Good Citizen operates at the intersections of culture, religion, whakapapa and nationality. In this new suite of portraits and works on paper, Ayesha asks, what might good citizenship be? Who gets to define what is good and who gets to define what it might mean to be a citizen? Within a nation-building framework, Māori are forced to perform their citizenship through acts of assimilation. In this exhibition,Green specifically explores the interracial family unit and how this process has resulted in her own identity as a citizen of Aotearoa New Zealand.
GoodCitizen is grounded in the religious allegory of Mary mourning over the body of her dead son, Jesus. This iconic image provides a critical entry-point with Mary’s role as a cipher, deployed as the perfect feminine image of deference, sacrifice and ultimately, unattainability.
Botanical patterning is used to echo the unending nature of whakapapa and its connection to Papatūānuku, travelling through images of Green’s grandmother, mother, and herself. These portraits of an artist and her whānau wāhine draw parallels between the self, intermarriage and ‘successful’ assimilation.
Ayesha Green (Kai Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu) is an artist based in Tāmaki Makaurau. She graduated with a Bachelor of Media Arts from Wintec in 2009 and went on to complete a Master of Fine Arts from Elam in 2013. In 2016 she completed a Graduate Diploma in Arts specalising in Museums and Cultural Heritage. In 2020 she was a Springboard Arts FoundationRecipient and in 2019 she won the National Contemporary Art Awards. Recent exhibitions include: Toi Tū Toi Ora, Auckland Art Gallery 2020/21, Wrapped up in Clouds, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, 2020, Strands, The Dowse Art Museum (2019); Tuia — Southern Encounters, The Hocken Gallery (2019); Elizabeth the First, Jhana Millers. Her work is in the collection of Te Papa Tongarewa, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, The Dowse ArtMuseum, The Govett-Brewster, The MTG Hawkes Bay and more.
Good Citizen opens on 13 May and will run until 5 June 2021.
Hannah Ireland makes faces. As children, we liked making faces too. Although we were told to be careful with the habit, because, if the wind changed, the face would stick! As a cultural value not pulling faces is pretty boring. It doesn’t seem to serve much of a purpose beyond encouraging decorum and conformity. What is interesting, however, is the idea that in transgressing this norm we risk invoking terrible consequences — that there’s a serious cost to letting a cool face slip. In the world of this idiom, Ireland is the wind. Her painting and sculpture freeze the faces that have let loose their tight compositions and become something else, if just for a moment.
Ireland works on glass. She makes faces that emerge from watercolour washes and impasto smudges and smears. They’re made to be viewed from the reverse — portraits declared in a half-turn. Several of the faces rebel against their supports, some are quiet and content, a few peer longingly out from the closed windows. Some do, in fact, stare from real window frames, taken from their original context and made into art objects.
Within her portraits are the exaggerated flourishes of an eyelash, glasses, lipstick, tinted brows, the beads of a necklace, the patterns of a shirt. They are emotive — sad, hurt and confused or confident, aloof, questioning. Ireland’s artworks consider how we construct, revise and reassemble our images to suit different needs, different contexts, different people.
Hannah Ireland is an emerging artist from Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa (NZ) and is of Māori and Pakeha descent. She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Psychology)and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Auckland. Ireland recently won the Supreme award at the Molly Morpeth Canaday Awards in Whakatane and is a finalist in the Kiingi Tūheitia Portraiture award at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.
Stuck in the mud opens on 13 May and will run until 5 June 2021.