Take a self-portrait with objects that spell out your name Hopukina 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?

Remember to show us! #TePapaWhānauChallenge


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?

Painting of Rita Angus sitting with the ocean behind her and a yellow circle behind her head like an aura. She is holding a white flower


Rita Angus, Rutu, 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)

Man stands in front of an easel with artist’s palette in hand, looking at the viewer. Behind him, in another room, a woman looks out the window


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)

Black and white photo of a woman taking a photo of herself in the mirror with a Rolleiflex box camera


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

Neon lighting on a wall in the shape of the word Malone, scripted like a signature


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

Painting of a vivid underwater scene featuring various fish, with a portrait of a woman in the middle. It is housed in a black and white striped frame with further underwater life on it


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)

Still-life painting depicting various personal items including a handbag, scarf, hat, and mirror


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)

A mural of a large number of objects, ranging from headphones to an egg beater, dipped in red wax


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)

Man (Peter Peryer) wearing a jacket and black shirt holding a rooster


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!