Louie Zalk-Neale

Mana tipua tuku iho — Transcestor (2021)

3 min 41 secSingle channel / Digital Video / Colour / Sound

Louie Zalk-Neale (Ngāi Te Rangi/Pākehā) uses tī kōuka (cabbage tree) fibres to create body adornments, exploring transformation as it occurs within Māori knowledge systems, and the invasive ways that gender and capitalism envelop daily life.

"The pūrakau of Ngake and Whātaitai, the taniwha of Te Whanganui-a-Tara (Wellington Harbour) uncovers a deep transgender whakapapa that gives me a firm grounding as a takatāpui, transfeminine person. The taniwha Whātaitai dies and transforms into stone, then his spirit transforms into a female bird who flies up to the heavens. This geological history contains transformations across physical forms and across realms. For me, using ancestral practices to adorn my body, I swim with takarure (fins) which help me to embody the transformative powers displayed by Whātaitai, this tupuna takatāpui. Driftwood and tī kōuka, materials from the whenua, extend my body into spiritual realms as I search for my tūpuna in the darkness of Te Pō."

Louie Zalk-Neale

Other works by Louie Zalk-Neale

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