Māori are used to having their experience captured by others. Think of the photographs of Ans Westra and Marti Friedlander. But Chevron Hassett is a young Māori artist taking the camera into his own hands to talk about the experiences of young urban Māori. Chevron hails from Naenae in Wellington, and Naenae is the subject of Home is Where my heart will rest, his exhibition at Toi Pōneke in Wellington.
But that's not all, Chevron is just back from Sydney where he has been talking to Māori living there about their experiences for an exhibition, Kōhanga at First Draft Gallery. Māori have a long and rich history win Sydney. 200 years ago, Māori frequently travelled across the Tasman Sea to engage in trade and labour and Maori have had continuous roots there since. Today close to 40,000 Maori live in new South Wales, 20,000 in Sydney.
Chevron is one of three Māori artists showing new work in Strands at the Dowse Art Museum talking to their whakapapa. Chevron is of Ngāti Porou, Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu and Pakeha descent and has been travelling back to the East Coast for several years to create this very personal project about his roots.
Chevron also shortly also has images of young people from Naenae displayed on buses, travelling the route from the suburb to Wellington city. Where once as a teenager Chevron tagged those buses illegally, now he's negotiating to represent his friends and his suburb in new ways through funded public art. For Chevron photography is a way to extend the practice of whanaungatanga, extending an oral practice into still and moving images.
Home is where my heart will rest opens on 16 November and Strands 29 November.