Lester Hall | Hoki Mai
Hoki Mai Print by Lester Hall
All works printed by the artist on Epson Velvet Fine Art Paper and K3 Archival Inks.
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This is a welcoming home of the Toi Moko heads that were traded between Maori and Pakeha and found their way into overseas ownership and institutions. The image says "welcome home" but it also says "all is forgiven". Forgiveness for those who made the heads and sold them and those who bought or stole them and forgiveness also for the despised slaves and enemies the heads originally belonged to. Head hunting has romantic connotations of adventure and heroic context but that romance is juxtaposed against the disturbing truths of a dark trade. This is an another image where I draw a line in the sand about my rights as a Pakeha New Zealander to express spiritual and cultural connection to the deeper emotional fields of our history and social structure. The desire of some people to hide Toi Moko and their images is a bending of history and a claiming of it as personal property or personal domain is not acceptable to my ideals of freedom of speech and self expression. Maori and Pakeha both might share a concern as to how they left these shores but surely we may also share a desire to have them return to the land of their birth. “Welcome home, welcome home, rest in peace.”