0191 The Currency of Gottfried Lindauer’s Māori Portraits
This article addresses the relations between painting, photography and settler colonialism in the nineteenth century through the Māori portraits of Gottfried Lindauer. Lindauer paintings are partly notable for the role that photography, via the projective device of the episcope, played in their production. In the context of the European exoticising of non-western others, and a rapidly expanding market for their images, this intermedial device manifests a gap between painter and sitter, pre-modern and modern, the existing older county of Māori and the new county of New Zealand. The photographic operation of the exotic further includes national and international exhibitions in which Lindauer’s portraits were shown, and the collectors, curators and commissioners of Lindauer’s work, who I conceive as parasitical intermediaries or, in Kwame Anthony Appiah’s phrase, culture brokers. Such figures situate Lindauer’s paintings within a metropolitan regime of evaluation which is underpinned by distance and debt. However, the portraits are also vehicles for currency of another kind, which is the mana motuhake (independent authority) of Māori. Understood within Te Ao Māori (the Māori world) the portraits bridge the perceptual gap of the exotic, and make present, or felt, the historically continuous self-sovereignty of their subjects.
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