Many will have seen Tame Iti and Delaney Davidson’s national billboard campaign, proclaiming, “I will not speak Māori”. The refrain featured within this body of work co-opts the written lines Iti was forced to repeat on the blackboard as punishment for speaking te reo Māori at school. In this new iteration, Iti and Davidson repurpose this polemic slogan once again transforming it into a prompt for reflection and dialogue.
Iti and Davidson have accumulated a mass of large-scale screen prints featuring “I Will Not Speak Māori” and then overlaid various painted elements to enact the next expansion of this kaupapa. Viewers will experience an immersive installation that locates each of us amidst the current discourse surrounding the revitalisation and shared responsibility pertaining to the accessibility and maintenance of te reo Māori within a contemporary Aotearoa.
Tame Iti’s work as an activist and artist spans more the fifty years. The impact of his political and artistic contribution is both unique and immeasurable. His work has been exhibited widely and has featured in a vast array of contexts and exhibitions. Iti’s work can currently be viewed at Odlin’s Plaza on the Wellington waterfront and Suite Gallery located on Wellington’s Cuba St. Just last week Iti was named as a recipient of a 2022 Arts Foundation Te Tumu Toi Laureate Award.
Delaney Davidson is a New Zealand Singer Songwriter, Musician, and Visual Artist. He was awarded an Arts Foundation Laureate in 2015 and is a three times winner of the NZ Country Music Song of the Year Award, awarded NZ Country Music Album Of The Year and, has been a finalist for the coveted NZ Apra Silver Scroll Award. Davidson has been hosted as the Te Whare Hēra Artist in Residence with the support of Whiti o Rehua School of Art, Te Rewa O Puanga, the School of Music and Creative Media Production and Toi Rauwhārangi College of Creative Arts, Massey University and Wellington City Council.