A photo in a recently launched coffee table book of Nicole Scherzinger (former Pussy Cat dolls singer) has drawn interesting comment on Facebook.
The photos, shot by renowned fashion photographer Raphael Mazzucco and edited by Jimmy Iovine and Sean Coombs, seeks to ”subtly push society’s standards of beauty – showing off a more genuine, bold, and realistic form and figure. Mazzucco was commissioned on a global tour, capturing the natural beauty of women from all walks of life, resulting in a portfolio of 248 stunning images that captures a raw, natural sense of emerging beauty.
What was particularly interesting was that the response online was mixed (normally we see total outrage at the misappropriation of Maori culture), but this time what we saw was more diverging views – to be fair, Nicole is of mixed ancestry, with Japanese, German and Hawaiian whakapapa (bloodlines) – and as is clear, she is incredibly beautiful (which makes us wonder does that make it acceptable for some more easily then others)!
The image which was shared by Toiariki Contemporary Ta Moko Facebook page helped illicit the korero (discussion) which followed.
Dawn Cambell, played devils’ advocate saying “If u look at it from another point of view..perhaps the artist was trying to portray the woman’s rights thing by putting a male taonga on her but hot to be disrespectful but to show how times have changed since way back… traditional has changed over the years…”
While Julia Orloff, another asute writer said, “My comment? I see it as disrespectful & an exploitation of her culture. I can’t imagine her being able to find an elder to would say, “Yes, placing a henna tattoo on your a** is an excellent way to portray our culture… and bring pride and respect!”
One of the most revealing comments came from Tarns Waikato, who wrote a dissertation on the subject saying “The array of different comments highlights a lot about ourselves, the state of our own cultural knowledge (or lack of it), the modern reality of globalisation and what we think is and is not acceptable when it comes to our taonga.
Tarns when on to say “For myself I believe there is a place for kirituhi and for ta moko, what I have a problem with is the use of our traditional imagery, motifs and patterns as a cheap and corny fashion accessory, devoid of any relationship to the ideals, beliefs and kaupapa that give mana and ihi to the designs in the first place.
I think Nicole is stunning, its just a pity the stylist went for the 99 cent version of highlighting her exotic beauty instead of the priceless way of doing it authentically – coulda been a Hawaiian goddess, instead she looks like a manu doll gone wrong. Too much like hard work I guess but not unexpected…
What are your thoughts whanau? Korero mai: