Through the eyes of Tangaroa

Reynolds, Loretta
Fitchett, Dale
Clark, Simon
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Master of Art and Design
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Auckland University of Technology

The key concept for this multimedia project was to undertake a voyage in art form which set out to examine issues related to the representation and perception of the ancient Rarotongan god Tangaroa, from traditional context to contemporary reconstruction. The essential aim of this project was to define how far from traditional representations this translation could go without disconnecting it from the cultural identity of Rarotongan traditional art. This project also researched previous historical representations of Tangaroa with the intention of isolating key elements of the traditional artistic structure and revisits them from a contemporary perspective. Using historic references of original artefacts and traditional Cook Islands’ patterns I engaged contemporary practices and materials to produce a body of work which explored my personal perspective on how Tangaroa could be reconstructed in art form. To support my research and studio practice I researched the myth behind Tangaroa and questioned why he has been displaced from Rarotongan traditional theology and reintroduced today as a marketing brand and souvenir icon. The base research for this project considered issues of traditional theology, the impact of Christianity on the ancient gods and Tangaroa’s place in traditional and contemporary context. This project is comprised of 80% studio practice and supported by an exegesis with a value of 20%.

Tangaroa , Rarotonga , Cultural identity , Contemporary reconstruction
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