Populated by images of birds, rolling clouds, moko mokai (preserved, tattooed heads), and spray painted Christian and Maori texts, Shane Cotton’s paintings since the mid-2000s evoke a sense of the sublime that exists at the interface between painting, digital technology and diverse cultural histories. Of dual Maori and Pakeha descent, Cotton draws on a symbolic vocabulary around both the native and the introduced – weaving a tale that speaks to personal, local and universal concerns surrounding colonisation, identity and biculturalism.
Shane Cotton (Ngati Rangi, Ngati Hine, Te Uri Taniwha) was born in Upper Hutt, New Zealand in 1964. His work has been included in many international projects such as Turbulence, The 3rd Auckland Triennial (2007) and Paradise Now? Contemporary Art from the Pacific, Asia Society Museum, New York (2004); and was surveyed in a major retrospective exhibition at the City Gallery Wellington (2003). He has also received numerous awards, most notably the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship (1998) and the Arts Foundation of New Zealand Laureate (2008).
Shane Cotton lives and works in Palmerston North, New Zealand.