Buckingham, 2019. Acrylic on board (framed). 1600 x 1200mm
Wild Flowers (things that grow), 2019. Acrylic on board (framed). 850 x 1250mm
Kensington, 2019. Acrylic on board (framed). 1600 x 1200mm
Fossils (things in the ground), 2019. Acrylic on board (framed). 850 x 1250mm
Richmond, 2019. Acrylic on board (framed). 1600 x 1200mm
Natural History (peer review), 2019. Clay. Dimensions variable
Lukas Jordan and Ayesha at the beach, 2019. 575 x 610mm
Ayesha Lukas and Jordan at Nana and Granddads, 2019. 575 x 610mm
Ayesha Lukas and Jordan on the tramp, 2019. 475 x 755mm
All watercolour pencil and ink pen on paper (framed)
Mea, 2019. Glazed ceramic. Dimensions variable
Ngāti Kahungunu, Kai Tahu
Born 1987, currently lives and works in Dunedin, NZ
“In her studio-based practice, Ayesha Green sustains a provocative engagement with processes of reproduction. By her own admission, Green utilises mimicry and copying to undermine the authority of symbolic objects, questioning the authenticity of their claims to power. While giving precedence to source material from the era of first contact between Māori and Pakēha, Green continues to draw on a wide range of references. Attempting to transmute the power of inherited objects and images by establishing new reading’s, Green thus pushes back at European-centric practices of anthropology and classification, and the demonstrable military and cultural domination of our shared colonial history.”
Elle Loui August, Matters Art Journal Aotearoa: Issue 8 (2018)
In this exhibition, Elizabeth the First, Green continues her research into Eurocentric systems of hierarchy and classification and their continued dominance in knowledge creation and dispersion. Three imposing portraits of Queen Elizabeth I provide the foundation for the exhibition, reproduced in Green’s signature flat painting style. As a figure, Queen Elizabeth I embodies ideas of a ‘Golden Age’ of the British Empire and she is revered as singular and original. Elizabeth, however, is also the name of Green’s grandmother and is the 6th person in her family to hold it. Queen Elizabeth I by contrast had no children of her own, but rather addressed the entire nation of Great Britain as her children and thus asserted herself as the mother of the people she ruled over. By choosing Queen Elizabeth I as the focus of this exhibition, Green contrasts and reflects on the power of Empire and the importance of Whakapapa as models for all else to adhere to, or to be measured against.
The three grand portraits of Queen Elizabeth I sit alongside small intimate watercolours of Green’s family, taxonomy charts, and two tables of ceramic nails. Through the combination of these works, Green draws attention to the complex, but necessary, reevaluation of the relationship between Māori and European worldviews.
Ayesha Green (b. 1987, Kai Tahu, Ngāti Kahungunu) is an artist based in Ōtepoti (Dunedin). She graduated with a Master of Fine Arts from Elam in 2013 and completed a Graduate Diploma in Museums and Cultural Heritage in 2016. Recent exhibitions include: Living Portraits: Mata Raurangi, Auckland Art Gallery, (2019); Two Oceans at Once, ST Paul St Gallery (2019); Māori Girl, Blue Oyster Art Project Space, (2018); EAST 2018, Hastings City Art Gallery (2018), and (Un)Conditional, shown at the Melbourne Art Fair, The Physics Room and The Suter Art Gallery (2018).