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I explore my identity as a bi-cultural mother through a visual language whose main characters are light, color, pattern, and figures. I anchor context and narrative with representational figures and settings while inviting viewers to wander within loose rendering, blurred edges, and powerful color. My sometimes flat and very present patterns are a nod to snapshots of distant or buried phases of my life. Inspired by sketchbooks from my late grandfather, a Māori wood carver, I braid together themes from my Māori ancestry, white-colonial ancestry, and caregiving identity. As I work to release religious traumas and cling to the tradition of my indigenous ancestors, I research visual Māori motifs I then incorporate into my figure paintings. My work often depicts everyday domestic scenes, and the added Māori patterns and symbols take the viewer into a liminal space that is neither reality nor nonsense, colonial nor indigenous, traditional nor contemporary; always something in between. My work is at the intersection of identities unfamiliar to most viewers but originates from an experience most mixed-race Americans understand.

Before moving to New York City, Terina, a Māori-American artist from Lā’ie, HI, studied portraiture and figurative art at Brigham Young University- Hawai’i. She then took color and drawing courses in San Francisco, CA. While her aesthetic is influenced by the expressive realism of her instructors, Terina is inspired by her contemporary NYC environment and explores incorporating expressive & abstract elements into her work. Terina has exhibited work in group and solo settings online and in New York City, as well as been published in art magazines such as ALL She Makes, 2022. 

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IG | @terinasart

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