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Chris Bailey

Chris Bailey (of Ngāti Hako, Te Aupōuri, Ngāti Porou, and Irish descent) draws on the forms and ideas used by his ancestors, developing them to create a dialogue between the past and present. In following this process he explores his heritage and gains an understanding about his own identity.

A connection with the materials is essential to Bailey’s work: “as part of the creation process I feel the surface of the works to assess the physical experience produced. I discover them, I see with my hands. We look after the land, and the land looks after us. It is a symbiotic relationship.”

Born in 1965, Bailey attended the University of Auckland where he studied Māori and cultural heritage. His works, encompassing small-scale body adornment as well as larger sculptural pieces, have been exhibited both locally and internation- ally and are held in major private collections throughout New Zealand.

Bailey has also had the distinct honour of being invited to take part in the pres- tigious 53rd Venice Biennale, where he was one of a selection of designers and artists who had their work shown in the New Zealand Room at La Maddalena. The documentary Chris Bailey: Ringa Whao, which was released in 2010, exam- ines Bailey breaking out of his shell and finding his roots through his work and culture.