In te reo Māori Huakina means “to open”. For prisoners in Aotearoa New Zealand, art is often a means of opening up new forms of expression – and ultimately pathways back to a normal life.


An innovative new exhibition curated by The Learning Connexion School of Creativity and Art will explore that idea. Featuring art by prisoner and guest artists, Huakina - to Open is a rare opportunity to view work made by prisoner artists from around New Zealand alongside well-known guest artists. All artists received an identical wooden box to respond to, each exploring the limits of their own creative potential.

My piece was initially inspired by a photographic study I made a couple of years ago, using photographs through cut-glass and crystals to refract and reflect objects under low light.

The following shows the steps I took to create this piece. Starting with a blank wooden box and a brush lettered ‘Brilliant’. I vectorised and laser cut the word-mark, repeating it in blue and red as seen in old 3D glasses. I then suspended the 2 cut out words above a mirror, and painted a faux drop shadow on the back board. When light is shined on the piece from different angles, different reflections and coloured shadows are created. The variety of reflection is endless, depending on proximity, depth, brightness, environment etc, and this references how things can change in life when you shine a new light.