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Poll Tax
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Poll Tax
Artist Lester Hall
Type Limited Edition
Medium Print on epson velvet fine art paper (K3 archival ink)
Dimensions See below

Description 'The image this work is based on arrived in my living room when I was a child. I was astonished by her at the time and she was the subject of much discussion. It is the most popular art print on the planet and it has won itself a place in the heart of many Kiwis as genuine Kiwiana. The place in Aotearoa of the new Chinese immigrant is often questioned. This work recognizes that Chinese were here since the beginnings of Pakeha expansion and the fact that they were racially profiled for a 100 pound "poll tax" to gain entry. This was married to a limit of one Chinese person to every 200 tons of cargo…. the tax was dropped in 1934. The original image was of a more Thai looking woman who was looking down and away from the viewer. The subject is more Chinese now and looking at the viewer but her head still carries a tilt to acknowledge the suspicion Chinese are still the subject of after many generations because of a new influx of immigrants. The dragon image references often seen tattoo motif of Chinese with daggers through their heads. The Asian lettering means home in Chinese and Japanese, because "they all look alike".
This is an entry level work for the Pakeha thinking about the complex nature of looking into race relations and conceptualizing in NZ. The artwork is an entertaining way to ask what the word Wahine means in New Zealand today. Are white women Wahine? Do Pakeha think Maori women are wahine or Moari women? Do Maori think of Pakeha women as wahine or Pakeha women. It is a question about language and titles and how the bilingual nature of NZ is starting to work. The setting for this question is a 1898 stamp of Milford Sound with a Phantom character embedded in the style with a pulp style heroine resigned to her fate.

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NZD $239.00
excl GST

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