Artist, Michel Tuffery is a New Zealand based artist of Samoan, Rarotongan and Ma’ohi Tahitian heritage. His art practice is broad and spans printmaking, sculpture, performance art, painting and design, new media and animation. His work deeply reflects his pacific heritage and engages with his relationship to the region, its people and the environment. Reflected in his motifs and materials are both traditional and contemporary markers of culture, celebrating and challenging us in how we view these.
A keen historian and active participant in contemporary culture is at the core of his accomplished multi-disciplinary art practice, his art holds a deep commitment not just to the peoples of the Pacific but to the environment. Tuffery’s artwork is curated into major international exhibitions and public collections and has qualified him to undertake residencies in the USA, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Asia, India and Australia. In 2008 Tuffery was appointed as a Member of the NZ Order of Merit for services to art.
Reading Middens, Tracing Lines immerses you into his research and processes, a journey he willingly engages the audience with. The co-exhibited printworks by students from workshops he ran at Waiheke High School equally speak to the history and environment of Waiheke and sit in conversatiion fittingly with the connections he has drawn between Tahiti, the Cook Islands and New Zealand pre-colonial settlement.
His beautiful embossed printworks and paintings on tapa and canvas storyboard his research and explorations across historic middens and Pa sites on Waiheke and the impact and residue of colonisation and depletion of Waiheke Island’s natural resources particularly the Kauri for Auckland city building and development.
“My kaupapa within my art practice is the role of working “in between” as a connector by placing a fresh lens on environmental, community, cultural and art historical divides.”
Born in Wellington he studied at the School of Fine Arts at Otago Polytechnic in 1989 and was awarded a Diploma in Fine Arts (honours) and went on to undertake further study at the University of Manoa in Hawai‘i. In 1993, he participated in the 1st Asia Pacific Triennial, at Queensland Art Gallery and in 2008, he received the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the arts. He has undertaken numerous residencies throughout the USA, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Asia, India, Australia, Aotearoa and the Pacific.