my life as a tunnel

Shannon Te Ao, Ngāti Tūwharetoa / New Zealander, (born Australia) born 1978



Two-channel video with sound

Duration: 568.8 seconds (9.48 minutes)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the William S. Rubin Fund

Courtesy of the artist and Mossman, Wellington



Place Made: New Zealand, Polynesia, Oceania


21st century

Object Name

Time Based Media

Research Area

Time Based Media


Not on view


"This Bitter Earth" (1959) / Music and lyrics by Clyde Otis / Originally recorded by Dinah Washington

This bitter earth
Well, what fruit it bears
What good is love
That no one shares
And if my life
is like the dust
That hides the glow of a rose
What good am I
Heaven only knows

Lord, this bitter Earth
Yes, can be so cold
Today you are young
Too soon you’re old
But while a voice
Within me cries
I’m sure someone
May answer my call
And this bitter earth
May not be so bitter after all

Te reo Māori translation by Krissi Jerram (2017)

Te pūkawa rā o te whenua
Ai auē, anā te hua
He aha te take o te aroha
Ki te kore e tohaina
Ā, me he puehu
Taku noho i te ao
E ārai ana i te rōhi mumura
He aha te take o aku mahi
Ko wai ka hua?

Aeha, te pūkawa o te whenua,
Kātahi te mākinakina
Ka tangi te pītoitoi he pēpi tonu
Ka tō te rā kua kaumatua
Ahakoa e tangi tonu nei a Roto
Kia mau ki te whakairo
Ka whakahokia mai pea he reo anō
Kāti rā, ko te pūkawa o te whenua,
E kore rā e pūkawa i te mutunga

From the 2021 exhibition Shannon Te Ao: my life as a tunnel, curated by Jessica Hong, Associate Curator of Global Contemporary Art

Course History

SPEE 26, How New Media Shapes Our Lives Rhetoric, Theory, and Praxis, Svetlana Grushina, Winter 2020

ANTH 18, Research Methods in Anthropology, Chelsey Kivland, Summer 2021


Commissioned by The Dowse Art Museum, Wellington, New Zealand; purchased through Hopkinson Mossman, Wellington, New Zealand; sold to present collection, 2019.

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