Cotton established himself at the forefront of the renaissance of Māori art in the 1990s and his distinguished career now spans over three decades. His practice is underpinned by recurrent questioning of his own bicultural identity, and our collective cultural identity. To offer a view into Te Ao Māori (Māori world view), Shane had to commit to learning and understanding matauranga Māori (knowledge). As his practice developed, he has built on the knowledge of his ancestors, actively absorbing, and reexamining the past to contextualize what biculturalism means in the present day. The symbols from Māori and Pakeha cultural histories in his paintings are predominantly derived from post-contact Māori art, and prompt conversations about nationhood and identity.