Hello Mr Kāwana is part of an ongoing project that engages with colonial narratives as a means to understand the histories that have shaped identity and landscape in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Presented on Te Tuhi’s Digital Billboard, the artwork depicts a young man seated in a pose reminiscent of late 19th-century colonial portraiture, acting as a response to the statue of Governor Grey located in Auckland’s inner-city Albert Park. Grey was a prominent figure in the colonisation of Aotearoa, resulting in many grievances towards Māori communities and Māori land that have indelibly structured the society we live in today. Stolen Land, the second of Hassett’s artworks on the Digital Billboard, is a simple yet complex image that is intended to be a bold comment for each viewer to digest on their own terms.
Viewed together, the artworks interweave tensions of land, history and culture, serving as a prompt for dialogue around the ways in which people are memorialised, the values of representation and whose narratives exist in public space.
About Chevron Hassett
Chevron Hassett is an early career artist of Māori (Ngāti Porou, Ngāti Rongomaiwahine) and Pākehā (Irish) heritage. He graduated with a Bachelor of Design with Honours from Massey University in 2017 and was the recipient of the Ngā Manu Pirere award from Creative New Zealand.
Hassett predominantly works in lens-based media, sculpture and public installation. At the heart of his practice is the essential spirit of whanaungatanga, the Māori concept of connecting, building and maintaining relationships within communities. Hassett holistically collaborates with his local communities and peoples. His recent works engage with narratives of socio-cultural identities, urban indigeneity and colonialism within Pacific and indigenous histories.