Atea refers to the meeting of people and ideas in a shared space, whilst acknowledging and following the tikanga associated with that space.
This work was intended to communicate the ‘surfing’ subculture within New Zealand. This relates to the concept of Atea as a subculture is the meeting of individuals who share values, beliefs and interests, and when they come together their interactions are governed by a series of implicit rules and practises. The imagery and composition of my collage work to express the freedom, community and immersion in nature that surfing brings, as well as its laid-back yet energetic tone. I wanted to portray the surfing subculture within a New Zealand context and this meant moving away from the stereotypical and commercial notion surfing which conjures up images of bright sunny days and bikini-clad females. The cool, desaturated colours reflect New Zealand’s cold climate and the figure’s meditative appearance alludes to surfing’s reflective and immersive side.
In an attempt to move away from the commercialism of surfing I avoided using female surfers as they tended to look too summery and were often very sexualised. However, upon reflection, I have realised this was the wrong approach. Surfing is a male dominated sport and by leaving out women I have unintentionally marginalised them and disregarded their involvement in the sport. By ignoring certain groups you contribute to their marginalisation. For example, mana wahine’s leadership positions, and even their powerful roles in myths have been ignored by colonial historians and ethnographers which has resulted in making mana wahine almost invisible (Mikaere 3). Rather than avoiding female surfers altogether I should have used images that were contrary to those typically seen in media in order to counter popular depictions and provide a more accurate representation of surfing in New Zealand.
Kleiman, Eden. “Surfing Subculture Collage”. 2016. Digital Image.
Mikaere, Annie. “Maori Women: Caught in the Contradictions of a Colonised Reality.” Waikato Law Review 2 (1994): 1-9. Print.