Reina Sutton, born in Honiara, Solomon Islands, is an interdisciplinary artist practicing in Auckland. Reina graduated with a Bachelor in Design and Visual Arts from Unitec Institute of Technology in 2013. Collaboration is a key component to Reina’s practice, she is a member of the Aotearoa SaVAge K’lub and a founding member of Tufala Meri – a collaborative initiative with her younger sister, Molana Sutton.
Reina’s practice is concerned with storytelling, specifically identity and death, reclaiming her newly discovered culture. Reina’s diverse practice incorporates various types of media. She has a keen interest in adornment of personal taonga, often making her taonga from materials which are personally and culturally significant. These adornments manifest a physical connection of her genealogy, reclaiming her cultural connections. As well as adornment Reina is also interested in drawing, installation, film and the activation of spaces. Reina’s use of space draws on the thinking behind the SaVAge K’lub which looks at a relationship between time and space based on the Samoan concept of vā. This suggests that space requires people in it, to be activated; therefore Reina is not performing but activating.
Wrap my Bones in Wild Taro Leaves is Reina’s first solo exhibition at Mangere Arts Centre, 2015. The title comes from a Melanesian myth which tells of a woman who was killed. Her loved ones wrapped up her remains in wild taro leaves and after several days she lived again. Reina uses this metaphor as a way of connecting the personal taonga, moving image work and the activation all representing different bloodlines which are no longer alive. Through the activation of spaces she is able to connect all these people again to have a type of second life, once the connection is broken they go to rest again.
Reina has participated in a number of group and solo exhibitions including Wrap my Bones in Wild Taro Leaves, Mangere Arts Centre, 2015; Tufala Meri, SaVAge K’lub, Back to the Future, Waiheke 2015; Adornments by Tufala Meri, White Night, Artstation Toi Tu 2015; Outem Sin, SaVAge K’lub, Mangere Arts Centre, 2014; Whimsical Wishes, Nook Gallery, 2013.