Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

“You too can be a Māori”


“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.

Robert Jahnke

Robert Jahnke


Te Whanau a Rakairoa o Ngāti Porou

(1951- )

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.