Born in Auckland, Rowan Panther is a lace textile artist whose work occupies the space between art and artefact. Coming from New Zealand, a country with complex colonisation, Panther connects to and explores her Samoan/Irish/English heritage, creating her own cultural hybrid. Inspired by museum displays and social domestic history, her work is concurrently art and craft, questioning the artificial distinction between the two.
Panther has spent years refining her practice and has moved towards experimenting with wearable pieces of lace work. She completed her Diploma in Contemporary Photography from Unitec in 2002, a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Elam in 2008 and continues to travel between Wellington and Auckland as she works in film and television. Rowan lives in Doubtless Bay, Northland.
Her work can be seen here on instagram @rowanpantherlace
Coming from New Zealand, which is such a multi-cultural place from where so many of us don’t originate, sometimes it’s hard to know where you fit into the big picture. This has led to a lot of my work being about exploring my own heritage. I use muka in my work to incorporate New Zealand; England and Ireland with lace patterning and the Pacific with materials and motifs of Samoa. This way I can create my own cultural identity and tradition.