“You too can be a Maori” is a triptych that makes a statement about the globalization of cultural icons. The juxtaposition of British Pop Star, Robbie Williams, Maori Leader, Piri Sciascia (with an Italian surname), and Afro-American Pugilist, Mike Tyson, speaks volumes about the globalization of moko (Maori tattoo) as an icon of trans-global culture. Famous / infamous personalities, as globally accessible icons, are just a mouse-click away on the worldwide web.
In the spirit of Gayatri Spivak’s process of ‘strategic appropriation’, the imprint of moko and ‘tribal tattoo’ is temporarily re-accessioned through cultural posturing that is real and imagined, physical and metaphysical. Simultaneously, a subtext of intellectual and cultural rights, peppered with appropriation, interrogates global access rights to cultural icons as pattern and image mined from the other side of the world.
Te Whanau a Rakairoa o Ngāti Porou
Robert earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Industrial Design in 1976 and his first-class Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design in 1978, both from Auckland University. In 1980, he graduated with a Master of Fine Arts in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts. He is currently professor and head of the School of Māori Studies/coordinator of Māori Visual Arts at Massey University in Palmerston North and a doctoral candidate there.
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