“Whitecliffe’s structured approach helped me make sense of myself as an indigenous artist in a contemporary world,” says Master of Fine Arts graduate Jess Paraone.
Her MFA study gave her a deeper insight into theoretical questions she had grappled with as an artist - the formation of indigenous cultural identity and the political and cultural objectives that underpin the emergence of these identities within the contemporary art field. By learning about how artists from other cultures respond to similar questions she gained a broader context for her work.
“My practice has become more personal and less concerned with being instructive or illustrative,” she says.
Jess chose Whitecliffe because it seemed fresh and contemporary. “It was also important that Whitecliffe was a non-Maori provider as I wanted to challenge myself and my practice outside of the contemporary Maori art world.”
Since graduating, Jess has been teaching at Te Wananga o Aotearoa and working towards various exhibitions, including one at Object Space in Auckland.