Jasmine Te Hira (Cook Islands/Maori & English heritage) is an artist, arts educator and community partnership coordinator based in Tāmaki, Aotearoa.
Her current Masters project is based at Unitec Te Whare Wānanga o Wairaka, where she graduated as Senior Scholar from her undergraduate degree in Design and Visual Arts (2016).
Jasmine has forged a practice that articulates concepts relating to time, memory and perception through the boundaries of object, video and constructed space, and exhibited most recently at Objectspace and Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki.
Explanation on work exhibiting at The Ōyster, Ōtara
My exhibition at The Ōyster investigates how our surroundings can impact the visual language of our lives.
The name for this exhibition is ‘The Architecture of Home’ which is a nod to my south Auckland upbringing while connecting simultaneously to the other homes I have, based in my whakapapa.
Recently, the artworks I have been creating consider taonga as ‘shadow sites’ – objects that have the capability to be embedded with hidden or private histories.
Each of the works included in this exhibition explores the power of personal adornment and the potential of contemporary taonga to support the retelling of histories, the revoicing of language and memory.
Q&A with Jasmine Te Hira
Who is one of your biggest influences?
My whānau. I come from an incredibly creative whānau on both sides. They have shaped me to see the world the way that I do and I am very thankful for the creative legacy they have provided for us, the next generation
What do you love most about being an artist?
Making art for me is a way of processing and understanding the world around me. I love encountering and being challenged by knowledge, looking at things from different perspectives and making sense of its interconnectedness.
For me, problem solving is at the core of creativity – this is one of the best aspects, having a skill that can translate into finding solutions across a range of life experiences.
What recent exhibition most excited you and why?
Encountering art can come in many different forms, for me, I often find this in music. The set design for Kendrick Lamar’s most recent Tāmaki tour was awesome to experience.
A series of large-scale shadow projections played from ceiling to floor, almost dominating Kendrick’s physical presence on stage. I really enjoy seeing how ‘atmosphere’ can be created by visual and sound elements for art and in exhibitions.
How do you think your heritage informs your art practice?
My practice is based in whakapapa – the continual learning, understanding and articulation of whakapapa connections. The inheritance of our heritage gives us, as creative practitioners, the ability to navigate past, present and futures that aren’t necessarily time dependent.
This is the reason I love researching ‘taonga’. Taonga have an incredible ability to unfold time, complex blends of storytelling over generations that are fluid representations of whakapapa.
A taonga that was worn by a great-grandmother can be worn in the present by a great-granddaughter, bringing forward the presence of a maternal line, one which is living in the present world of the next generation. All these experiences of those generations are witnessed by that taonga – holding and embodied knowledge for us to navigate our futures together.
What is the main message you want to convey through your work in general?
The embedding of our experiences, stories in taonga, the process of creating taonga and handing these taonga on within a whānau, a whakapapa.