“E HIKA!” A shoutout to the native baddies. Mahi toi by Pounamu Wharekawa.
“E HIKA!” is a kīwaha that is used as an exclamation—whether that be an expression of shock, admiration or even reproach. Pounamu Wharekawa’s exhibition “E HIKA!” takes the admiration route; a love letter and exclamation of awe directed at sub/urban indigenous femininity. It’s a shoutout to the Māori baddies if you will.
Drawing inspiration from wāhine toa in traditional pūrākau, as well as the women and femmes that they’re blessed to have in their life, Pounamu uses bright colours and graphic stylings to depict feminine strength in the diaspora and blur lines between generations.
Pounamu Wharekawa (Ngāi te Rangi, they / themme / ia) is an angry indigenous bad bitch, fine artist, illustrator and muralist. They make art that speaks about intersections of identity through the lens of a queer, small town turned urban Māori living their best boring life in the big smoke of Kirikiriroa. A recent graduate of Waikato Institute of Technology, Pounamu has spent the past year honing their skills, learning up on trad pūrākau and getting their hustle on (AKA grinding way too hard to be healthy).
Pounamu is riding a wave of rediscovery and reclamation, reaping the benefits made through the work of those who came before them and striving to make the journey easier for those who follow.