Jasmine Te Hira


Tell us about yourself

Kia ora, Kia orana! My name is Jasmine Te Hira. I am a practising artist and currently work at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki as an Art Educator. I was born and bred in Manurewa and have whakapapa connections to Te Rarawa, Ngāphui, Atiu and Devon. My artistic practice considers the way in which heirlooms trace and embody indigenous knowledges while traversing institutional spaces of critique. I work with video as a recording medium and often reference the body as a site of memorial and archive.

About this piece

Lost Content was a work that developed from a korero that centred on the tapu status of hair and death within te ao Māori. In connection and contrast, this led to my research into Victorian mourning jewellery. Lost Content highlights three key ideas central to my practice; personal adornment, loss and experience of material knowledge. The mourning bracelet has pearls, fingernails and hair embedded into the ice, it melts over a period of time being worn on the body – a reference to Victorian mourning jewellery. The core of every piece I make is drawn from interpersonal korero. Each artwork acts as a silent statement. It is through conversation we can often find understanding and clarity – my purpose of transforming oral traditions into visual references is to encode korero into visual texts.

Any particular aspect that really stands out for you in this work?
Ephemeral elements like time and endurance are key considerations. Markers and indications of experience are what stands out for me in this work. The experience of ice to skin, the experience of loss and the experience of processing grief are illustrated through this work for me.

Does this piece hold any significance to you personally? Does it represent anything to you? How does this influence other works that you do? Do you find hints of it showing up in other pieces you’ve done since?
I’ve continued with this thread of water in my work. I am very interested in the ecology of the arts, the value and the privilege placed on platforming particular narratives within institutional settings. There are inherent clues as to where my personal values lie within my works around this topic, however I am also interested in the intergenerational accumulation of wealth and the value of uncovered narratives within society. I created a work The Beauty of Invisible Grief which binds a lot of these thoughts together. An ice hei-tiki is worn and melts against the warmth of the wears skin – speaking to the invisible narratives that we each carry with us. The water incorporated within this work comes from the awa I whakapapa to – this for me, is the intergenerational accumulation of wealth I am privileged to have embedded in my whakapapa.


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