Umbilical Brown VII B
mixed media on board
300mm x 200mm
Umbilical cords tie us to our mothers; from generation to generation they reach into ancestry. Like cord, blood ties and binds us.
This work is part of an exhibition, Umbilical Brown, in Christchurch, 2021. The tattooed symbols on the gesturing hands I view as a form of empowerment and solidarity.
One of Leleisi’uao’s first political exhibitions from the late nineties was The Brownest Dawn. It was about the dawn raids in which ‘overstayers’, people who had come here to work in our factories were dragged from their beds to be shipped back to the Islands. In a changing economy, people like machines that have outlived their usefulness, are made redundant, cast out, rejected. This is particularly difficult for migrant groups. Leleisi’uao has made innumerable paintings and drawings in which people are plugged in, wound up, made to operate as if the working parts of industry; depersonalised, mute.
About the artist
Andy Leleisi’uao is a renowned New Zealand artist who grew up in Mangere, South Auckland. He is the recipient of the Creative NZ Senior Pacific Artist Award, 2021, and the prestigious Wallace Art Award, 2017. He has exhibited widely throughout Aotearoa and internationally.
64 Rosebank Rd