In Samoasonite, early-career artist Jimmy Maʻiaʻi explores his Samoan/Palagi heritage and questions the term ‘Afakasi’ (‘half-caste’), often used to refer to a person of such heritage in a derogatory manner. The title of the show combines ‘Sāmoa’ with ‘Samsonite’, a luggage brand. Central to the presentation is a kind of mass-produced woven plastic bag that is sometimes pejoratively called the ‘Samoan suitcase’, due to its popularity among Samoan travellers.
Maʻiaʻi has cut the tartan-like fabric of the bags into strips, backing these with plastic versions of fine mats customarily made of natural fibre, and attaching them to timber frames to produce two monumental wall hangings, Samoasonite 2.0 and Samoasonite 2.1. The works echo the plastic thatching of a structure based on a traditional fale at Rosebank School in Avondale, suggesting experiences of cultural dislocation and transformation. …
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8 December 2020 to 5 February 2021
Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland