Week 11 Blog Tasks

  1. In each of your assignments for Studio this year you made work that responded to concept integral to the powhiri process – Mihimihi, Turnagawaewae, Atea, and Hakari. Define the concept that corresponds with the project you feel was the best thing you made in Studio all year. (25 words). 

The Studio project that I feel I produced my best work was Dress. The powhiri concept that corresponded with my Dress Studio was mihimihi. Mihimihi is an individual’s upbringing and the life events that have made them who they are today. Other words that mean similar to mihimihi include identity, upbringing, and announcing yourself.

2. Discuss the work you made: describe its physical attributes, the concept/s behind it, and the wider context in which you made it. (100 words).

Fig. 1. Front View of Dress Final Outcome in Relation to Mihimihi. Personal photograph by Kate Arbuckle. 16 Oct 2016.

Fig. 2. Back View of Dress Final Outcome in Relation to Mihimihi. Personal photograph by Kate Arbuckle. 16 Oct 2016.

For my Dress assignment, our brief was to design and construct a garment that represented our partners Mihimihi. The key points that I chose to focus on in relation to my partners Mihimihi were that she spent her childhood in England before moving to New Zealand, Marilyn Monroe is one of her inspirations, and lastly that she has a very girly style and loves to wear dresses. I chose to design and construct a mini wrap dress that flares out from the waistline with pleats. The tight waistline relates back to Marilyn Monroe who had a strong hourglass figure and therefore liked to highlight her small waist. The right side of the wrap bodice has been smocked to create a texture made from crosses. The crosses were specifically made to represent the British flag to symbolise my partner’s childhood growing up in England. The left side of the bodice has remained untouched to illustrate a contrast between England and New Zealand. To enhance the girly style of the dress I added pleats to the tops of the sleeves as well as to the top of the skirt to create volume and movement.

3. Erna Stachl discusses decolonisation and Mana Wahine in her lecture. How did you consider gender and/or indigeneity and/or the intersections between the two in your work? Why should you be thinking about this at all? Use key ideas in the lecture and the texts by Ani Mikaere and Linda Tuhiwai-Smith to support your argument. (75 words). 

Gender played a huge part in my Dress project in relation to my partners Mihimihi. I chose to base my dress design around an influential women figure; Marilyn Monroe. Marilyn Monroe empowered women to embrace their curves. Therefore I designed a very female orientated design with an emphasis on the waist to highlight my partner’s curves to empower her hourglass figure. In N, Simmonds article discussing women’s studies she discusses how both Pakeha and Maori women are defined differently. Smith states that ‘’As women, we have been defined in terms of our differences to men. As Maori, we have been defined in terms of our differences to our colonisers. As both, we have been defined by our differences to Maori men, Pakeha men and Pakeha women’’. (1992, p. 33). Therefore, I felt it was important to empower my partner’s curves as her inspiration, Marilyn Monroe, was an influential female figure who empowered women without comparing women to men in terms of power and status.

Simmonds, Naomi. ‘’Mana wahine: Decolonising politics’’. Womens Studies Journal 25.2 (2011): 11-25. Print.


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