This new exhibition by Aotearoa New Zealand artist Mitchell Manuel tells the story of shared heritage between Māori and Scottish people through tartan.
As part of Scotland’s Year of Stories, Stirling Smith Art Gallery & Museum is pleased to host an art exhibition that tells the story of shared heritage through tartan.
‘Woven Identities’ by Aotearoa New Zealand artist Mitchell Manuel explores ‘whakapapa’ (genealogical) and cultural connections between Māori and Scottish people. Mitchell draws upon the iconic visual symbolism of tartan and of ‘koru’, a traditional organic Māori shape that resembles an unfurling fern leaf. By combining these two deep-rooted visual forms of cultural identity through digital media, Mitchell’s artwork tells the story of the links between the Māori and Scots.
First inspired by his own mixed heritage, Mitch began exploring Scotland and Aotearoa New Zealand’s shared experiences of colonialism through his art. Common themes of loss of land, cultural alienation and suppression, and subsequent resilience, perseverance and triumph are embedded throughout their history. The artworks celebrate and echo the complexity, beauty and uniqueness of identities forged from a variety of original encounters and leave their generational mark on many today.
Mitchell Manuel was born and raised in Tāmaki-makau-rau Auckland, the Polynesian hub of Aotearoa New Zealand. He has a background in film and television, digital art, textile design and fashion.