Heather Straka's portraits are characterized by their brazen, politically charged subject matter and technical precision. Having studied sculpture at the Elam School of Fine Arts in the early '90s, Straka developed an attention to detail which she maintained upon her move to painting, spurred when the scarcity of sculptural materials coincided with Straka’s visit to a retrospective of René Magritte's paintings in Brussels. An inspired Straka began painting and exhibited her first show in 1998. Her best known works are multicultural explorations, often appropriating portraits of the indigenous Polynesian people of her native New Zealand, the Māori. These paintings revisit the classic paintings of the Māori by Victorian artists, yet with the addition of daring religious, political, and cross-cultural references.