Harakeke mask, 2020
About the object
This face mask, woven from Harakeke, a type of flax native to New Zealand, bears witness to the COVID-19 pandemic. The artist Purewa MacGregor draws on the Maori tradition with her choice of material. Harakeke was already an important material for making baskets, mats or clothing in pre-colonial times and was considered sacred. Regarding this MacGregor herself says: “Maori have a natural affinity with Harakeke and it is pivotal in our culture. I created Harakeke masks in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Maori believe heavily in the rongoa (healing) properties of Harakeke. Having the opportunity to create something that would resonate culturally with Maori, was a good starting point in the conversation around health during this crisis.” (Author: Purewa MacGregor 11/2020).