We are Chevron Hassett and Robert Laking, two Wellington-based
artists and writers of Māori descent.
Chevron's art-practice is community-oriented and spans
photography, mural painting and sculpture. His primary focus is on
cultural identity, urbanisation, whakapapa and tikanga.
Robert has a research-based conceptual art-practice, this stems
from his keen interest in language and writing.
firstdraft Gallery in Sydney have accepted our proposal for
Chevron to produce an exhibition focussing on the shared history of
Australia and Aotearoa, with curatorial assistance from Robert.
This will be our first time exhibiting internationally.
The central tenet of the exhibition is the history of Māori
trade and migration. We see ourselves travelling to New South Wales
in a spiritual capacity similar to our tūpuna before us; travelling
to engage in trade of ideas and objects, as well as to share
experiences. Because this exhibition focuses on both history and
Māori culture, we will spend a lot of our time conducting further
research and writing the accompanying catalogue, so that the ideas
in the work will be accessible and educational for all.
New South Wales has a strong historical connection to Aotearoa
New Zealand, Sydney is the oldest site of residence for Māori
living overseas. Prior to the signing of Te Tiriti o Waitangi,
Aotearoa was governed from N.S.W. Following its establishment as a
penal colony in 1788, Port Jackson quickly became a destination for
Māori looking for work and trade. The first documented arrival is
as early as 1793. Māori traded knowledge and wares in exchange for
armaments and crops.
We would like to present a body of work which is informed by the
trans-Tasman voyages of Māori for trade and work. The primary focus
will be large scale sculptural works with an emphasis on
nā Chevron māua ko Robert
Born in 1994, Lower Hutt, Chevron is of Ngāti Porou, Ngāti
Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu and Pākehā heritage. He holds a
Bachelor of Design (Hons) from Massey University, Wellington
(2016). In 2017, he was awarded the Ngā Manu Pirere Award from Te
Waka Toi and Creative New Zealand.
Born in Wellington in 1995, Robert is of Pākehā, German, and
Māori (Te Whakatōhea) descent. He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine
Arts (Hons) from Massey University in 2017. Last year he was the
Liz Stringer Curatorial Intern at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery.
Currently, he is developing his art practice and honing his
curatorial and writing skills.