at: The Dowse Art Museum — Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and Heritage



The Who Am I? Episodes

29 January  –  08 May 2005

A solo exhibition at The Dowse Art Museum

45 Laings Road, Te Awakairangi Lower Hutt 5010, Aotearoa New Zealand 

The ‘Who am I? Episodes’, was exhibited as an installation comprising audio-scapes, paintings, a floating floor, text, and listening and viewing stations, exploring the subject of identity formation as a creative process,  linked to history and the individuals social-situation.  Collectively Taratoa in this exhibition explores the impact on and influence the ongoing process self-concept creation. Originally first installed at The Dowse Art Museum, ‘The Who am I? Episodes’ was later toured and reconfigured at Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and Heritage. 

Toured to: Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science and Heritage; November 2005 – February 2006.

326 Main Street, Te Papaioea Palmerston North, Aotearoa New Zealand.

The Who Am I? Episodes


Debbie Martin

Curator: The Who am I? Episodes

So if you’re The Silver Surfer, Who Am I?

From space-invaders to paddling pools, Wolverine, BMX bikes and the local dairy, The Who Am I? Episodes by emerging artist Kelcy Taratoa explores popular culture and personal identity – what it means to grow up Mâori in an urban environment.

In this exhibition Taratoa dares to ask the question Who Am I? The resulting series of vivid urban landscape paintings and audio soundscapes are loaded with much-loved icons of kiwi culture and quirky familiar cues for the viewer. There’s everything from a beach ball to a New World supermarket, Spiderman scaling a Tui sign on a corner pub, the typical kiwi holiday caravan, a wooden buzzy-bee toy and a lolly-pop stop sign at a zebra crossing outside any primary school in New Zealand.

The Who Am I? Episodes is both an intriguing look at all the everyday things that surround and influence our daily lives, and a revealing visual representation of Taratoa’s personal journey. It reflects the experience of many Māori youth growing up without traditional cultural influences, yet submerged in the abundant pop culture of a typical urban lifestyle.

Taratoa says his work aims to “ask the hard questions – Is skin colour enough for an individual to feel a part of and be accepted by a particular group? Or is it the clothes you wear, the music you listen to, or even the sport that you play that determines acceptance and identification? Or, is identity more about the people you associate with?”

“These paintings depict an internal ‘drive-by’. Kelcy has taken graphic snapshots of his own childhood, past experiences, places and memories that will resonate with many urban-born Māori and New Zealanders in general. The audio soundscapes of spoken word and an eclectic mix of hiphop, drum and bass, dub and reggae accompany each painting and will add another dimension to the viewers experience of The Who Am I? Episodes”.

Photography: Courtesy of Kelcy Taratoa