Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe, Ngāi Tahu
The expression of Ngāi Tahu cultural values and beliefs, including concepts of whakapapa, whenua, mana, taonga and whānau, is the primary focus of Ross Hemera’s creative practice. He references the ancient imagery of Waitaha, Ngāti Māmoe and Ngāi Tahu within the context of ‘Taonga tuku iho’, a process involving the transmission of knowledge within a spiritual framework.
Upholding protocols while combining cultural knowledge with modern visual arts practice; exploring the function of ancient rock art imagery; portraying traditional narratives associated with the land, migration and origins and depicting oral traditions are the cornerstones of his practice, which he has made a vehicle for the expression and development of Ngāitahutanga.
Ross Hemera’s work has enabled Ngāi Tahu to present its tribal identity to iwi and the world as an expression of its tikanga and mana whenua status through innovative interpretations of South Island Māori cultural and artistic traditions.
Ross has recently retired from the position of Professor of Māori Art and Design, College of Creative Arts, Massey University, where he held the portfolio of Kaiwhakaahua Māori – Director For Māori Development.
Ross is a current member of: Aho i te Rangi – Ngāi Tahu Māori Weaving Trust; Ngā Aho – Network of Māori Design Professionals; Paemanu – Ngāi Tahu Contemporary Visual Arts.