Lisa Reihana (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Hine, Ngāi Tū) is a multi-disciplinary artist whose practice spans film, sculpture, costume and body adornment, text and photography.
Since the 1990s, Reihana has significantly influenced the development of contemporary art and contemporary Māori art in Aotearoa. She has earned an outstanding reputation as an artist, producer and cultural interlocutor with her attention to the complexities of contemporary photographic and cinema languages expressed in myriad ways. Her ability to harness and manipulate seductively high production values is often expressed through portraiture where she explores how identity and history are represented, and the intersection of these ideas with concepts of place and community.
Reihana’s work explores colonisation, gender and representations of indigenous peoples in media and filmmaking. She often looks to how stories of the past are told or those points in the past that have been overlooked, weaving mātauranga Māori through her technically ambitious and poetically nuanced work. Her art making is driven by a powerful connection to community which informs her collaborative production method, grounded in working kanohi ki te kanohi (face to face).
Reihana represented New Zealand at the Venice Biennale in 2017 with the large-scale video installation in Pursuit of Venus [infected] (2015-17). The work premiered at the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki in May 2015 and has since become a seminal work in Aotearoa New Zealand’s art history canon.
In 2014, Reihana was awarded an Arts Laureate Award by the Arts Foundation of New Zealand, and the Te Tohu Toi Ke Te Waka Toi Maori Arts Innovation Award from Creative New Zealand in 2015. In 2018 she was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit.