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Jermaine Reihana

Jermaine Reihana’s work hinges on customary Maori narrative and art conventions to relate with and navigate through the complexities of contemporary society. Jermaine paints native flora and fauna, rendered in a fine illustrative style while re-working traditional Maori narratives with a stylistic re-interpretation of kOwhaiwhai (painted scroll ornamentation), tukutuku (woven lattice panels), and whakairo (carving) design conventions. With such adaptations he produce a personalised response to cultural practices, suggesting and interrogating issues relating the current social, political and environmental climate from a Maori perspective.

Jermaine Reihana is an emerging artist, born in Auckland in 1986 with Ngati Hine, Hokianga and Pakeha ancestry. His gift was apparent from a young age and spent time drawing and analysing images from Maori children’s books, illustrated by Peter Gossage, Cliff Whiting and Robyn Kahukiwa. These books where used as tools to implement customary narratives and concepts derived from the Te Aho Matua curriculum, while attending the first Kura Kaupapa Maori (total immersion Maori language school) establishment based in West Auckland Te Kura o Hoani Waititi Marae. It was part of a Maori-led language revitalisation strategy that was not initially supported by the government. Jermaine studied at Massey University School of Maori Visual Arts in Palmerston North, graduating with honours in 2012. Jermaine’s work featured in the most comprehensive survey of Maori Contemporary art exhibition “Te Atinga” 25 years of Contemporary Maori Art during 2013 and was subsequently published in 2014. In 2015 he held his first solo exhibition, Te Matahi at Depot Artspace in Auckland and continues to exhibit nationally.

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