My ART | Artist: Ana Iti

Artist: Ana Iti

Artist: Ana Iti

What do you do?

I am a full-time artist, which is both a challenge and a privilege. When I think about what being an artist is, I like this quote by Keri Hulme: “I am not a traveller, but I make journeys. The journeys are undertaken timidly, warily, with a sense of foreboding and coming despair. This is strange because I am overtly a hearty well-fed clown.”

What images are pinned to your studio wall?

There are lots of images on my walls but they include a poster of Fiona Clark’s photograph of the Mr Universe competition; a postcard of my friend Ciwas’s exhibition; a print from a guided tour of the Pompallier Press in Kororāreka; sketches of potential sculptures; and printouts of some of my favorite works from Marilyn Webb’s book. Moe mai ra e te rangatira.

The first artwork that made an impact on you?

When I was at Art School I vividly remember seeing a video work by James Oram called Game Face in which he reads a list of self-affirmations while wearing a mouthguard. It was shown in an installation that featured two soccer goals and a bunch of balls that were kicked around during the opening. I grew up in a small town and this was my first big interaction with contemporary art. I was alarmed, I was confused, I was high.

What are you reading?

I’ve been saving up the last chapter of Amokura by June Mitchell.

What did you learn at art school?

Turn up to the studio everyday or as often as possible. I find it is important to give time to my practice and not all of it is productive.

Share a recipe/secret from your lockdown kitchen?

I’ve been making Carla Lalli Music’s bean recipe. It’s cheap, you can use whatever you have to hand, and it makes me feel like I’ve achieved something. There’s a bunch of wild parsley, rosemary and fennel that grows around where I live so I like to use that, don’t omit the burnt lemon.

What is art for?

Art is a way of thinking about things. For me, I get to take things apart and think about the different components of form, material and history and what I would like to explore and question.

What’s next?

I’m making new work for the exhibition ‘Swallowing Geographies’ at the Govett Brewster, which will open as soon as alert levels allow! I’m also moving to Ōtepoti this month with my girlfriend. I’m excited to return to Te Wai-Pounamu for a time.


September 2021.