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Puaki - to come forth, show itself, open out, emerge, reveal, to give testimony.

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A wet-plate exhibition by Michael Bradley Photography


Puaki - to come forth, show itself, open out, emerge, reveal, to give testimony.


In Māori culture, it is believed everyone has a tā moko under the skin, just waiting to be revealed.


The problem is, when photographs of tā moko were originally taken in the 1850s, the tattoos barely showed up at all. The wet-plate photographic method used by European settlers served to erase this cultural marker - and as the years went by, this proved true in real life, too. The ancient art of tā moko was increasingly suppressed as Māori were assimilated into the colonial world.


In his new project, photographer Michael Bradley has re-claimed the near-obsolete wet-plate photographic technique as an original and striking way of showing the resurgence of the art form of tā moko.


By using wet plate photography to document the rebirth of tā moko, Bradley starkly depicts how culture can be erased by colonisers - and how against all odds, it can come back.


The resulting body of work includes 40x A2 (3+1 Artist proof)  photographic prints and 8x (3+1 Artist proof) A1 photographic prints along with an accompanying video. 

Along with the large photographic prints, smaller 3x A4 prints were gifted to the people photographed. 1x A4 photographic print is the artists proof.

More information can be found in the About page of this website.


This exhibition forms an important social documentary of the people who choose to wear tā moko today, and the proud place of tā moko in modern society. 

With thanks to...
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© 2020 Michael Bradley Photography Limited

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