Take a self-portrait with objects that spell out your nameHopukina he whakaahua kiriaro me ngā aha noa e tātaki ana i tō ingoa

Self-portraits have long been a way for artists to consider themselves and their place in the world. You may know self-portraits by another name: selfies. They allow us to present ourselves in the way that we want to, but they also allow us to think about questions such as: What is really important to me? Who am I?

Education type

Whānau challenge


Collections Online

There are many self-portraits in the national collection. Some are obviously self-portraits, while others are a little bit more abstract – a collection of objects that represent ‘you’ is just as much a self-portrait as that cheeky face of yours!

Browse a selection of self-portraits on Collections Online, or check out a few examples below – including some that at first appearance might not seem like self-portraits. Can you see why they are?

Rita Angus, Rutu(link is external), 1951, oil on canvas. Purchased 1992 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. © Reproduced courtesy of the Estate of Rita Angus. Te Papa (1992-0025-1)

Leonard Mitchell, Self portrait with Pat, in the studio, while painting the Lower Hutt Memorial Library murals, 1955, oil on canvas. Purchased 1990 with Harold Beauchamp Collection funds. Te Papa (1990-0005-1)

Ans Westra, Self portrait, 1964, black and white photograph, gelatin silver print. Te Papa (O.042837)

Daniel Malone, My name in lights, 2006, neon, glass, wood, paper. Te Papa (2010-0023-1/A-G to G-G)

Nicola Jackson, Self portrait with other fish, 1986, papier mache, wood, acrylic paint, varnish. Purchased 1987 with Ellen Eames Collection funds. Te Papa (1987-0032-1)

Frances Hodgkins, Still life: Self-portrait, about 1935, oil on panel. Purchased 1999 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds. Te Papa (1999-0017-1)

Yuk King Tan, The New Temple – I give so that you may give, I give so that you may go and stay away, 1995, found objects and red wax. Te Papa (2012-0009-1/AA to IJ)

Peter Peryer, Self portrait with rooster, 1977, black and white photograph, gelatin silver print. Te Papa (O.003898)

Videos that talk about the ‘self’

Watch more from the series ‘Sāmoan New Zealanders talk about their tatau (Sāmoan tattoo)’

Other resources

See how others took on the challenge!