“I want to be political. I want to make big drawings and signs. In your face. Get up, stand up… What I’m saying here is ‘pay attention and look what’s happening in our country.’”(1)
Lonnie Hutchinson does not shy from confrontation in her work. Drawing on both her Ngāi Tahu and Samoan ancestry, her works contain elements of spiritual connection to place and history, as well as biting commentary on contemporary socio-cultural and political issues. Hutchinson has explored issues including objectification and exploitation of Pacific women, (Black Pearl, 2008), racial and sexual politics (My Mother, 2010) and her experiences of ancestral place (Sista 7, 2003).
Hutchinson works in multiple visual media, producing performance, installation and digital works, prints and sculpture as well as her signature paper cut-outs which “feature hybrid motifs of kōwhaiwhai, koru and frangipani, as well as imagined and invented patterns drawn from contemporary culture, hip hop and popular music.” (2) Delicate wooden carvings designed by Hutchinson feature in the new Auckland Art Gallery, where they indicate the thresholds between new and old gallery spaces.
Exhibiting internationally as well as in New Zealand, solo and group shows include Pasifika Styles, University of Cambridge Museum, United Kingdom (2006-8); L’Art Urbain du Pacifique, Castle of Saint-Aurent, Limousin, France (2005); Samoa Contemporary, Pataka, Porirua (2008) and This Show Is What I Do, Institute of Modern Art, Brisbane (2005). In 2012 Hutchinson was invited to take part in HOME AKL, an Auckland Art Gallery exhibition showcasing significant Pasifika artists (Jul-Oct 2012). A survey show and catalogue, Black Bird: Lonnie Hutchinson 1997 - 2013, was shown at the Gus Fisher Art Gallery in Auckland and at the Dowse Art Museum in Lower Hutt in 2015.