“What makes [Elliott’s works] enthralling, full of time, is that various elements are wrestled into complex pictorial structures that let the eye roam in and out of space, around and about. Familiar images … pop into focus as we traverse these thoroughly unfamiliar, invented spaces.” (1)
Drawing on multiple histories, including her own whakapapa (Ngāti Awa, Te Whānau-a-Apanui, Ngāi Te Rangi, Te Arawa), street art and abstract painting, Zena Elliott’s energy-filled works explore notions of individual identity within an international community. The cross-pollination of societal, gendered, and historical norms across a range of media increases apace and Elliott examines its effect on the framing of a singular, artistic ‘voice’, asking if it is possible to locate artworks within a distinct national / personal / cultural framework.
Based in Hamilton, Zena Elliott gained her Master of Visual Arts with Distinction from the Waikato Institute of Technology in 2006. In 2009 she was commissioned by Wintec to create an artwork for the institute’s city campus. She is currently employed as an Independent Creative Researcher and Maori Visual Arts Lecturer.
1. Edward Hanfling, “Star Wars, Manga and the Whare," New Zealand Listener, September 28, 2013.