Digital Mana

Exhibition

Digital Mana is a self-coined phrase that combines English and Te Reo Māori (the Māori Language) in order to question the compatibility of digital media (digital image capture, process and print production) and the fundamental Māori concept of Mana (meaning the importance, status and spiritual power of a person and/or an object).

This project by Māori-Australian photographer and weaver Kirsten Lyttle explores issues of materiality for Pacific diaspora customary artists living outside of their ancestral homeland. How do diaspora weave in a foreign land when their traditional plants and materials are not available? Can new technology, such as digital photography, be used in customary, indigenous ways?

For Māori, the highest prestige garment that can be woven is the Kākahu Korowai, or feather cloak. In this project, feathers are photographed, then these photographic prints are sliced and woven to make a life-sized, three-dimensional cloak, using customary, Kākahu Korowai techniques.