Written by Jade Kake
Not just People of Colour have an identity. Jade Kake looks at how White settler identity is framed in her review of Five Pākehā Painters: Perspectives on Hawke’s Bay.
Five Pākehā Painters: Perspectives on Hawke’s Bay is a new exhibition, presented at MTG Hawke’s Bay and curated by Jess Mio (Pākehā), which features works by Rita Angus, Jenny Campbell, Geoffrey Fuller, Dick Frizzell and Martin Poppelwell. The exhibit examines several key aspects of Pākehā visual and material culture, identifying underlying cultural values and assumptions, and the stylistic choices made within this cultural context. The 12 artworks, painted between 1925 and 2016, have been presented in a radically new way – not by era, style, medium or oeuvre, but in terms of relationships to land, as viewed through a Pākehā cultural lens but understood in relationship to Māori conceptions of whenua and te ao taiao. An inherent tension within Pākehā attitudes towards landscape is identified at the outset – between appreciation on one hand, and entitlement to resource extraction and modification on the other.