Tino Rangatira Tanga by Leilani Kake
April 2 - June 13, 2010
City Gallery, Civic Square, Wellington
Leilani Kake (Tainui, Ngāpuhi, Cook Island, American) is a video installation artist based in Auckland. Kake utilises narratives taken directly from her personal life to comment on larger issues facing Māori and Pacific Island communities living in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Filmed entirely on hand held camera Tino Rangatira Tanga follows Kake as she documents her fathers tā moko (Māori facial tattooing) and his subsequent illness and passing. The footage, shot in first person perspective with Kake behind the lens, provides the audience with an opportunity to experience these sacred moments through her eyes.
Speaking about her father the late Richard Kake Leilani explains that he was the strongest supporter of her artistic practice. Always consenting to be filmed, Mr Kake felt it was his obligation to record the living culture and history of tangata whenua. The documentation of Mr Kake’s tā moko was the real life actualisation of this endeavour, in doing so literally personifying the living ‘face’ of contemporary Māori art and culture. With this in mind Leilani Kake says she knew he would consent to the filming of his tangi (funeral) as long as it was done tastefully and with the respect it deserved.
On a personal level Tino Rangatira Tanga can be viewed as heart felt homage to the life of the late Richard Kake, a man Leilani Kake describes as a modern day Rangatira. Yet if we view this work from a socio anthropological perspective Ms Kake can be seen to be purposefully undertaking an important public service in the documentation of contemporary Māori life, art and culture.
Set amidst a rich acoustic sound track of customary moteatea (genealogical incantations), Māori hīmene (hymns), pop-reggae, and waiata whakangahau (songs of celebration), Tino Rangatira Tanga is a true to life story depicting the contemporary Māori process of tangihanga (funeral or mourning) and the important role which waiata continues to play in the everyday lives of Māori communities.
Leilani Kake was born in Rotorua in 1977. As a child she lived in Papua New Guinea, Australia, and eventually settled in Auckland. Her mother Julienne Greig is of Rakahanga Cook Island and American descent. Her father Richard Kake is of Tainui and Ngāpuhi descent.
Kake is an emerging video and moving image artist who gained a Degree in Visual Arts at Manukau Institute of Technology School of Visual Arts in 2002 and returned in 2005 to under take postgraduate study in Fine Arts. She regularly exhibits nationally and abroad, and recently presented a paper on Māori and Pacific urban arts in Aotearoa New Zealand to the Los Angeles College Art Association at the de Young Museum (2009) in San Francisco. Her most recent international exhibition was Le Folauga- the past coming forward: Cotemporary Pacific Art from Aotearoa New Zealand exhibition in Taiwan (2007), and in 2005 was awarded the Salamander Gallery/Creative New Zealand Emerging Pacific Visual Artist Award.
Tino Rangatira Tanga was first exhibited at Fresh Gallery Otara, Auckland (2008) and again at Corban Estate Arts Centre, Auckland (2009). In creating Tino Rangatira Tanga Kake would like to acknowledge the support and aroha of her whanau, especially her mother Julienne Greig, Aunty Hinemoa (Binny) Kake, Uncle Kingi Kake, Ms Ema Tavola, her siblings and cousins, and of course her father Richard Kake.