Tāme Iti corrects her misspelled name on artwork at Wellington Hotel

Artist, actor and activist Tāme Iti has corrected his misspelled name on an artwork hanging in a Wellington hotel.

Iti posted a video of himself changing the spelling of Tama’s performance into a New Zealand landscape painting by artist Dean Proudfoot which hangs at the QT Hotel in Wellington on Instagram yesterday.

The painting features a misspelling of Iti’s name in the lower left corner, with the reading Tama instead of Tāme.

In the video, Iti admires more artwork before sitting down for what appears to be a cup of tea and addressing the camera.

“They call me Tame, Tama, somehow, you know. Such a simple name – Tāme,” he says.

Iti then approaches the artwork, removes her coat, and uses a paintbrush to cross out the incorrect spelling of the name in orange paint.

He continues to repaint his name above with the correct spelling.

According to Stuff, the artwork’s owner, Chris Parkin, said the act was vandalism.

“As far as I’m concerned, it’s downright vandalism,” Parkin said.

“It’s no different than someone putting graffiti on a building that doesn’t belong to them. I expect the police to chase it down. They would definitely hit me if I went to Te Papa and vandalized a work of art.”

A police spokesperson told 1News they could find no record of a complaint being filed for the incident.

The artwork’s creator, Dean Proudfoot, sent a statement to 1News, saying in part:

“There was no intention to offend – it was a clear lack of research on my part. This series of works has always been about celebrating the unique characters of Aotearoa New Zealand.

“Tāme is the epitome of what makes our country special.

“What Tāme did to ‘correct’ it gave the work new life with a much more powerful meaning. It was elevated. I thank him for that and for what I learned as well.”

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