Art & creativity, Things to do  |  10 Jan 2020

Internationally acclaimed artist Sarah Hudson is running a workshop where people can create headware to protect them from surveillance and facial recognition technology.

The 22 January workshop at the Christchurch Art Gallery explores ideas of agency, privacy and identity, and is running in conjunction with the exhibition Māori Moving Image: An Open Archive, which features video and photography from Hudson’s Ōpōtiki body of work.

Participants can create their own headwear from native and natural materials, while contemplating the concept of autonomy in a world where surveillance devices are constantly capturing our images.

A range of fresh and dried materials, including harakeke, the versatile New Zealand flax, will be supplied, or workshop participants can bring along their own favourite materials.

Hudson  says the workshops are a fun way to explore different materials and techniques while exploring ideas around autonomy and disguise.

“I really enjoy using dried material that’s already been cast off from plants and trees,” Hudson says.

“These workshops are a great way to open up conversation about a range of social and political issues, while making art together is really nice way to sit and relate to people.”

Hudson says her Ōpōtiki series and headwear workshops were inspired by issues affecting the community in the small Eastern Bay of Plenty town of Ōpōtiki.

“In 2015, the District Council in Ōpōtiki established blanket approval for the recreational use of drones on council land, including playgrounds, parks, reserves and roads,” she says.

“In this project, I spent a few months working alongside residents to discuss privacy and explore agency in the wake of the council’s decision.”

Based in Whakatāne as a full-time artist and proud mother of one, Hudson (Ngāti Awa, Ngai Tūhoe) has exhibited widely in her individual practice and with the outstanding and highly sought-after Mata Aho collective.

The collective, made up of Hudson and fellow Māori artists Bridget Reweti, Terri Te Tau and Erena Baker, has recently shown at the Royal Academy in London and were included in one of the world’s most prestigious art exhibitions, documenta, in 2017.

In her individual practice, she likes to focus on photography, performance and installation, and the central themes that inform her work are an investigation of mātauranga Māori, mana wahine, popular media culture, gender and sport.

Headwear with Sarah Hudson is running at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū from 5:30pm – 6:30pm on Wednesday, 22 January 2020. Visit Christchurch Art Gallery for more information.