Benjamin Work: Tautahi - In the face of adversity

9 May - 3 June 2023 Bergman Gallery, Rarotonga

'It's fascinating to see how facial recognition has been used throughout history, not only as a form of cultural expression but also as a means of identifying individuals. The use of painted faces and intricate designs, such as kupesi, in Tongan warfare shows how important it was to be able to identify friend from foe quickly. In terms of the social environment, kupesi or pattern, is derived from how Tongans metaphorically used its geometric sense in reference to the form or image of someone's face in identical or similar repetitive character. Similarly, modern technology has also taken advantage of the unique patterns and features on a person's face to create a unique identity or kupesi that can be used for security purposes.  However, it's important to acknowledge that the use of facial recognition technology has also raised concerns about privacy and potential misuse. By highlighting the cultural significance of facial recognition in Tongan society, these works also shed light on the importance of preserving and respecting diverse cultural practices and traditions in the face of a rapidly changing world.'