Saturday, December 18, 2010

Hybrid visual language...?

I came across this in the Tony Simpson book. It's a report of some sort, to do with Maori being sent to fight in the First World War. I'm interested in the image, the masthead, at the top. What do you call this? It's not heraldry is it? What I'm really interested in is the use of Maori imagery within the structure of this sort of heraldic masthead. It's such an odd mix of two separate and previously distinct visual languages.

Simpson's caption, as usual, tell me nothing as to where it's from, who produced it etc. All it says is "Not all Maoris [sic] were prepared to fight in the white man's war. Many Waikatos went to gaol rather than be conscripted."

I need to find out who 'made' this. Was it produced by English or Maori? If it is an English/Pakeha production then it is an interesting sort of attempt, or concession, to produce a sort of uniting image. If you consider how, generally, colonised nation's languages were discouraged and/or phased out. Remember that speaking Maori was forbidden in schools here for a long time.

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