Tracey Tawhiao (Ngai te Rangi, Whakatohea, Tuwharetoa) was born in 1967. She is a multi-skilled contemporary artist who has studied and worked in a variety of fields. She is a writer, poet, filmmaker, qualified lawyer and practising artist. Her artworks convey the breadth of her experience and her position as a Maori woman in a European-dominated society. She created the House of Taonga Salon, including a manifesto and rooms for gathering emerging artists and exhibitions. She is published in a series of documentaries anthologies and art books, 'Taiawhio: Conversations with Contemporary Artists' includes a chapter on this artist and one of her artworks features on the cover of this publication.
Her practice employs the unconventional art material of newspaper. She rewrites the news in symbols and decolonizes mindset by obscuring certain words in a headline or passages of an article she changes the focus of each news item and subverts the entire newspaper leaving a poem in paint.
The symbols she uses are sourced from her Maori whakapapa (heritage). She has created her own visual language that is distinct and imperfect, the place she says, all perfection dwells.
She also paints vinyl with a Posca pen flow. She is currently in France doing a 100 metre installation in a public library.
She has created these installations in Paris, Los Angeles, Taipei and they are wordless poetry in paint. They are the new old.
Her focus is strongly on the potency of symbol and she uses it to overwhelm the world with her cultural perspective of the evolution of light and people.
Tawhiao is a renaissance woman and is working her left and right brain equally. She is contributing a breath of fresh air to her culture and is very well known in New Zealand for her unique and dynamic approach to Art. She is also an international artist with a prolific body of work.