Kim Hill interviewed respected Maori painter, sculptor, writer, and curator Darcy Nicholas on Radio NZ National and brought up the concept of the dancing bear in relation to indigenous people creating art out of their traditional culture for a modern audience.
Darcy said “what you have to do is know the difference between the dancing bear and the real bear, because the real bear is going to eat you.”
Anyone know what that means?!
“If we liken it back to Maori culture” Darcy continues, “we have to understand the difference between the real thing and the entertainment thing. And quite often people get confused.”
Sounds fair, but I’ve got to say that being an entertainer (i.e. visual artist) myself, there is noooooooo clear line between what’s ‘real’ and what’s ‘entertainment’.
Kind of like our previous conversation about whether creating something new out of Maori designs is legitimate borrowing or appropriation, all of you had so many different views.
Is Kapa haka real or entertainment? Are my paintings real or entertainment? Was the beautiful, moving opening ceremony for the Rugby World Cup real or entertainment? It felt like both to me.
So no, I don’t think we’re dancing bears. When I paint, the spirit in which I create is real because the artwork is an extension of myself. Plus my art looks good on a wall therefore it’s also entertaining.
What do you think? Please leave a reply below or email email@example.com…
If you have 36 minutes to spare, which may seem like an eternity for some, but not for us painters who spend hours in the studio, you should listen to the interview…Kim Hill interviews Maori artist Darcy Nicholas on Radio NZ