Portraits express ‘raw, honest’ stories of women

Artist and photographer Loren Pasquier with a portrait of Maria Aroha, of Awarua Runanga.

AFTER French artist Loren Pasquier arrived in New Zealand several years ago, she became fascinated by Maori culture.

However, she also noticed the division between Pakeha and Maori “was quite tangible”.

Pasquier then immersed herself in a learning journey including the Maori language, the history and creating connections with the culture.

“I thought quite candidly that perhaps there was something I could do with my skills and my sensitivity.”

Pasquier launched her resulting exhibition Wahine at the weekend at Miharo, in Invercargill.

The exhibition focuses on the “raw, honest and vulnerable” stories of eight Maori women through personalised sound and portraits.

Local woman Maria Aroha, of Awarua Runanga, was one of them.

“In general, being a woman myself, I’m aware that it is less common to have women speaking in public spaces and have their stories told. Having a light shining on them,” Pasquier said.

“So I thought it could be a great angle.”

Wahine was the first chapter of Pasquier’s project The Woven Woman.

She hoped to frame stories of other women in countries such as India and Australia.

“Those women are letting people who they don’t know, total strangers, to fully come into their lives and I have noticed the power of this vulnerability…

“It is an instinct [feeling] of love, compassion and respect.

“It makes us realise that even [though] we are very different people, we actually have so many experiences in common wherever we are from.”

  • The Wahine exhibition will be on display at Miharo until December 12.