9 March - 9 September 2012
WHY THE T-SHIRT?
The study of dress has great potential for exploring personal values and social identity. The T-shirt is arguably the most accessible item of dress. As the “Big Mac” of fashion, the tee appeals to all genders and ages and ranges across class and cultures.
New Zealanders’ casual outlook is manifested in our jandal and T-shirt wearing culture and newcomers of all cultures have readily adopted the style. T-shirts allow people to tell a story. They express social, political, religious, economic, tribal or cultural identities and allegiances. Māori and Pacific people, in particular, have used the vehicle of the T-shirt to express their unique identities, illustrate their sense of kinship and maintain shared cultural values in an increasingly commercialised, digitised, and global world.
Identi-Tee Aotearoa is a paradigm-breaking exhibition, from its choice of focus, mode of collection and curation, and presentation. It provides an opportunity to test alternative methods of collection development that not only address practical museum concerns (for example, storage and display space), but also increased community participation in collection development and curation. The mass production of T-shirts, combined with the ephemeral nature of their iconography, makes digital collation a more practical alternative to standard museum acquisition practices.
Thank you for being part of this innovative museum experience.
About Janet Lilo
Janet Lilo has exhibited in New Zealand and internationally. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Creative New Zealand Contemporary Pacific Art Award and was artist in residence at the Tjibaou Cultural Centre, Noumea, New Caledonia.
Check out more of Janet’s work here www.janetlilo.com
Auckland Museum thanks our sponsors for their generous support.
Chanel Clarke - Curator Maori
Ngapuhi, Te Rarawa, Waikato-Tainui, Ngati Porou
When asked that familiar question we all get asked when we’re young, you know the one, “so what do you want to be when you grow up?” I remember telling my teacher that I wanted to be the Editor of Vogue Magazine. My stars didn’t align in that direction but instead guided me to the museum world. I have the privilege of caring for one of the best Maori collections in the world as the Curator Maori at Auckland Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira. A typical day sees me answering phone calls about treasured family heirlooms, conducting tours, talking to the media, writing labels, writing policies, or my favourite, taking centuries old taonga back to local communities. My real passion though is still clothing and the way we choose to express our identity through our dress. So come join me as we explore this on our Identi-Tee blog and I finally get to live out my childhood dream of thinking, talking, and writing about fashion….
Fuli Pereira - Curator Pacific
As a Tokelauan born in Samoa, brought up in Porirua and a resident of Auckland for the past 26 years my sense of physical belonging has necessarily changed over time – however my identity has remained unchanged. My t-shirt says it all ‘Tokelauan to tha Bone’.
Identity, personal and national, how it’s negotiated and the language of that negotiation are fascinating. I’ve looked at contemporary arts as sites of this negotiation, specifically arts created by New Zealand artists of Pacific Island heritage. Increasingly T-shirts have become an important site for Pacific expressions of identity and negotiation, and we invite you to join the Identi-Tee team as we explore NZ-made Pacific t-shirt designs which speak with distinctly New Zealand voices albeit with island accents.