Kiri Wai – Inner Skin
Kiri Wai, Inner Skin is the story of a young European-American who undertakes a journey to Aotearoa “New Zealand” in the South Pacific. Over the course of his quest, he seeks answers to questions about moko. In the process, he delves into Maori culture and the moko’s place in other cultures.
Is the art tattooed on his skin a reflection of his identity? Does the moko reveal his deeper nature and artistic identity? Or is he being cheated? Is a Westerner with a Moko living in a fool’s paradise, believing an artist’s explanation of a tattoo without ever reaching his own understanding of the symbols marking him for life?
Kiri Wai, Inner Skin is the story of a young European/American who undertakes a return journey to the South Pacific to complete an identity quest that began in his adolescence when Inia Taylor (Maori tattoo artist, sculptor, & makeup artist cf. Once Were Warriors) began a moko on his skin.
Over the course of the documentary, the questions that the moko gradually evoked in Bruce, our guide in this journey, will be explored, delving deeply into the nature of the Māori culture of the moko and it’s place in other cultures.
Is the art tattooed on his skin a reflection of his identity or does it reveal his deeper nature and artistic identity? Are we being cheated? Is a Westerner with a Moko living in a fool’s paradise, brought to believe an artist’s explanation of a tattoo’s significance without ever reaching their own understanding of the symbols marking them for life?
Of course, lovers of the tattoo arts, incidentally an ever growing demographic are our main target. However, any documentary fan thirsting for discovery and storytelling will be enthralled by this piece. It is essentially a travelers tale, with the potential to draw together people from all walks of life yearning for a peek into worlds radically different from their own.
Kiri Wai Inner Skin is a story about Jreedom and understanding. Understanding oneself, but also growing to understand anothers culture.
Kiri Wai Inner Skin embodies the idea of 2tst century global citizenship. It explores themes of traditionalist tribal art, Western fashions, and the universal “self” while never shying away from difficult questions of “cultural authenticity”.
Following our hero from New York to the far reaches of Oceania, and then back to Europe, this film brings together typical documentary interviews, historical reenactment, and travel adventure, to create a project worthy of the label “contemporary graphic storytelling”.
Kiri Wai Inner Skin employs a style of documentary filmmaking in which the reporter learns at the same rythm as the audience.
It is not my intention to teach my audience about tattoos but instead allow them to follow me on a journey in which we learn together about Māori culture) Māori art, its influence on Western culture, and finally, our mutual history.
In other words, how two cultures continue their discovery of each other through the ancestral art of Tā Moko.
Written and conceptualized to be both filmed and told in the first person, this project is personal, and bursting with young talent. A coming of age return journey to New Zealand, the land where seven years earlier adolescent Bruce first discovered Māori traditions of skin carving, Kiri Wai Inner Skin begs the question: What can a “Tā Moko” mean to a Westerner? Kiri Wai Inner Skin, spanning oceans and cultures, reaching beyond fashions, is a refreshing quest of self, filled with life and vision.