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Featured: Jenna Smith

Hukanui Photographic Print by Rakai Karaitiana

'Hukanui', by Hawkes based artist Rakai Karaitiana, is a part of a series of hand-coloured photographs from his 2017 exhibition 'Rest Area' that was held at endemicworld.

“We’re always going somewhere for something, on a journey from somewhere to somewhere else. I have captured images that are places found along the way, on the path to somewhere else. On a journey from A to B is where i have found these moments. Either driving, walking or on a boat, this is what i have collected, like a treasure hunt of landscapes and imagery.” 

'Rest Area' is a collection of images that are intended to be stopping, resting places for the viewer. A body of images that are immersive, calming and unplugged from our daily reality, each image a place to rest and reflect on what we have and our connection to nature and the land and locations we sometimes take for granted. 

The 'Rest Area' images are all hand-coloured photographs captured and coloured by the artist. Hand-colouring was a popular method for producing colour photography in the early to mid 19th-century and made popular by the early Japanese colour artists and studios like Kusakabe Kimbei as well as Luis Márquez from Mexico and most famously here in New Zealand by Whites Aviation. The demise of hand-coloured photography was quick and was left to dwell in the shadows of the full colour image in all it’s multi coloured glory and wide gamut. 

The process of hand-colouring simplifies the images, no longer full colour representations and only utilising a hand-full of essential colours. The hand-tinted element brings a human hand to the technical process of photography and helps to accentuate tones and hues, creating warm and almost surreal landscapes. 

Rakai’s mother is from Waimarama and the wharenui there is called Taupunga and represents the anchor of the Takitimu waka. Taupunga has no carvings and instead only portrait photographs that once dated back to the early 19th-century. Nearly all the portraits of his Tipuna were hand-coloured photographs and were all damaged by a flood in 2010. Now these original images have all been replaced by low quality canvas prints. Before the flood Rakai managed to photograph and document all the portraits in the wharenui and these images have been a source of valuable whakapapa and an inspiration in his approach to this body of work. 

The team at Places and Graces have taken inspiration from the hand-colouring process selecting a simple colour palette that is echoed from tones in the photograph to create a tranquil and harmonious space.

View Rakai Karaitiana collection >>

Styled by Places and Graces for Resene Colour