Tessa Russell

Title: You ripped out my mother tongue
Year: 2018
Length: 04:38
Credits: Tessa Russell
The work is of my mother’s journey without Te Reo Māori and it’s purpose is to raise awareness of the intergenerational trauma language loss can cause. It’s probably the most important piece of mahi I have ever put together in my life, because it’s not just her story. It’s my nanny’s, it’s mine, it’s my daughter’s, it’s New Zealand’s. This is OUR country’s history, this is OUR country’s language, so this is all of OUR responsibility to save it.
Thematic tags: Decoloniality, family, history, indigenous methodologies.

Tessa Russell’s practice is predominantly in photography and video. She utilizes her art to explore issues that affect her whānau, hapu, iwi, and community. Proud of both her Māori and Scottish ancestral lines, she understands the importance of adding her voice to conversations as an indigenous wahine and māmā.


Moving Image Archive is a RM Gallery and Project Space project
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