Tabatha Forbes

Tabatha Forbes MFA (Hons) b.1972

Tabatha has been working in the field of environmental perception, with a central focus on 18th century Botanical art and the period in the pacifics’ history when James Cook and his various botanists, artists and natural historians made their observations of the pacific greatly influencing the ‘european view’.

Having worked with native plants in New Zealand for the last decade, her recent work in Rarotonga has included flora, fauna and historic artefacts that were collected and documented during that investigative period. Her work attempts to present the audience with the suggestion that how we see nature and culture, has been shaped by these histories – through aesthetics, science, documentation and classification, without consideration of any existing indigenous understanding.

Tabatha has been visiting the Cook Islands regularly since 2009 and is working on a new project to be shown at the BCA Gallery in Rarotonga later 2012.

She says:

“Being a New Zealander pakeha comes with an awareness of being ‘other’; being connected to a culture on the otherside of the globe, yet feeling part of another culture and environment altogether. Spending time in the Cook Islands has presented me with a greater understanding of what it means to be a part of the South Pacific, making the pre-colonial nature and culture of this side of the world valued and appreciated more than I ever could from New Zealand. Pakeha or not, I’m still geographically at the very least, a Pacific Islander.

Through my art I am attempting to bring together histories and contemporary ideas to celebrate the diversity of our lives here; the way in which we see and understand our environment is manipulated by a great deal of complex influences (such as politics and economics)and I am trying to encourage us collectively, to keep looking and keep moving forward. History is as terrible as it is great, yet constant reflection is, I believe the only way to prevent complete environmental and cultural collapse.”

My work can be seen at :
facebook under ‘Tabatha Forbes’ artist pages.

Media: Mixed media, paintings 

Subjects: Conceptual art, inspired by cross-cultural experiences and history.

Where: Beachcomber Contemporary Art, Avarua.