Dimensions:approx. 190 x 260mm
Louie Zalk-Neale (Ngāi Te Rangi, Pākehā) is a queer artist based in Te Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington, originally from Hokitika. Louie grounds their practice in bodily adornment created from found materials, making reference to clothing while inviting adaptive usage. By activating these materials in interactive performances and re-imagining them in images, Louie allows space for their audience to critically observe and embody the absurdity of normalised experiences; with LGBTQI+ traditions and Mātauranga Māori supporting their practice.
Louie’s work has recently featured at Artspace Aotearoa’s New Artists Show (2020); Critical Costume Conference (Norway 2020); Shared Lines Collective at Birdo Flugas Gallery Sendai (Japan) and Kaikōura (2019); and at MEANWHILE Gallery, where they are currently a lead facilitator.
Even in the supposedly untouched nature of Aotearoa, humans have been part of the landscape for 1000 years. As I look closer at the soil and plants, I wonder: am I like the native or exotic plants here? Am I like the rubbish or the rocks?
I painted this from a memory of how it feels to be immersed in the ecology of Matairangi (mt victoria). As a trans-feminine queer person, depicting my own body like this makes me feel grounded in knowing that disruptions to normality are the most natural thing. I imagine how many other queer lives are embedded in this landscape’s history, and all the other places we live.
The corona rāhui shut off how much I could interact with other people and made me very introspective. As a performance artist, I previously relied on a live audience to share my work with, but this time gave me the opportunity to get to know the place where I live (Matairangi/mt victoria) with a new sort of intimacy, and explore what it means for me to be creating there. As I walked on the mountain, I became more aware of the lineages of whakapapa that brought everything to where it is today — myself, the trees, the dirt, the worms — and I noticed how queer gender and sexuality are implied in ALL histories and landscapes in many different forms. I developed these feelings into drawings, videos and body adornments.