In the exploration of colonial influences on the representation of Indigenous peoples, Matt Tini, through a series of photography and moving image works, scrutinises the colonial gaze directed at Tangata Whenua and other Indigenous communities. By reclaiming and disrupting the visual codes that have homogenised and essentialised Indigenous identities, Matt challenges limiting paradigms upheld by both colonisers and the colonised.
As Tangata Whenua, Matt negotiates the impact of the colonial gaze, which has historically objectified and constrained the Indigenous body within rigid paradigms of authenticity. Matt's work aims to dismantle these notions, advocating for cultural agency through self-determination. Referencing New Zealand European art history and its colonially informed tropes, Matt disrupts stereotypes and challenges the expectations of authenticity imposed on Indigenous identities. With provocative playfulness, Matt embraces the consciousness of Trickster to challenge viewer's perceptions of the Indigenous body, identity, and experience. Unserious yet earnest, the essentials of being a native manipulates the visual language of colonisers, engaging with colonial fantasies while breaking them open.
Image: native habitat (vignettes) (2023) by Matt Tini.