Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

An Object of Desire


This work extends my exploration of themes surrounding expressions of practice and intercultural relationships. The concept of this work centres on the idea that objects are loaded with symbolism and significance. The question that objects exist as ideas within the imagined world of dreams and aspirations and as physical items imbued with meaning and purpose.

An Object of Desire explores two very fundamental ‘rights of passage’ based on the themes: mixed Maori and Pakeha (European New Zealander) and the New Zealand passport. This work looks at the way these ‘rights of passage’ could be expressed in artistic terms.

The entranceway / gateway form signals that certain obligations and conditions are required in order to progress with validation. These requirements are expressed through both literal and obscure references to existing commonly known objects.

Selected portions of text from a New Zealand passport and a marriage certificate document are used to imply socially acceptable official authority. The metal (aluminium) gable atop the lintel is a reference to European culture. The canoe (waka) form is a reference to the Pacific region and in particular the Maori. The lintel represents the concept of connectedness or the bridge joining two different entities into a cohesive whole.

Ross Hemera

Ross Hemera


Ngāi Tahu

(1950- )

Ross was born in Kurow, in New Zealand’s South Island. He earned a Diploma of Fine and Applied Arts from Otago Polytechnic in 1972 and had his first exhibition in 1975. In 1983, he became head of visual arts at Waiariki Polytechnic, Rotorua, and more recently he was named head of the Department of Art and Design Studies at the School of Design at Massey University in Wellington. In 1987, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand/Air New Zealand Travel Award with which to study fine arts in the United States.