Standing amongst tall Kauri, ‘Comb (Red)’ is a giant scarlet hairpiece similar to those traditionally worn by women in the Pacific. An artist of Samoan and Maori descent, Lonnie Hutchinson weaves her heritage into a contemporary practice, often relating to women.
The striking female figure featured is Black Pearl. She is inspired by the history of ‘blackbirding’ whereby Aboriginal and Pacifica women mysteriously disappeared from their homeland to later be discovered as slaves on board pearl ships.
Black Pearl recurs in Hutchinson’s work, emerging as a strong, vibrant ‘Superwoman’-style goddess in ‘Milk and Honey’, her recent exhibition at Auckland Art Gallery.