Garvis You There?
‘Garvis You There? is one of x7 paintings in a series titled ‘Ngā uri ā Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga’ commissioned by ‘ConceptioArt’, Hong Kong. The series first uses the Western notion of the hero, where the hero is always male, and the male is always ‘White’, to open a dialogue inclusive of Māori notions of mana (greatness) by exploring the pūrākau (legendary story). Māui-tikitiki-a-Taranga, who whilst achieving many super-human feats, ultimately was overcome by a female, Hine-nui-te-pō crushing him between her legs. We discover atua wāhine (female gods) both provided Māui with knowledge and abilities to excel in Te-ao-tū-roa (the material world of humankind) and equally nullify mana and tapu – that which is great and sacred. This brings to the fore the potency of female mana (influential power and ability) to whakanoa (negate/nullify tapu). Māori notions of greatness are gender neutral/inclusive.