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I am interested in the history of Aotearoa/New Zealand.
This series began when I started looking at images from the early Carte de Visite (postcards) of Māori women. They were living in a transitional time in New Zealand’s history. In most cases the women were unnamed. for this reason in my recent works in this series, I have hidden a tiny forget-me-not flower in the painting. I try to imagine their world, and how they would see Aotearoa today. The charcoaled and painted image is adapted from the photo. Everyone has a story of ones own; I’m trying to imagine that story. The original photo is referenced on the back of the painting. When a portrait is viewed, a dialogue begins between the subject and the viewer. What is she thinking?
Recently, I have been painting works of women I have met and as the series has progressed, i am looking at others who live in this country. New Zealand, like most places in the world, has become multicultural. I think to empathise and understand many cultures, that the answer lies in looking for common ground. Most of us want the same thing, peace, love, friends, family.
These are dynamic works. The viewer sees changes in the woman’s face and the gold markings as they move around the painting and during the day, in different lights. I developed this technique, after many years of using generic gold leaf in my art.
There is an overlay of patterning on the faces which is inspired by koiri (to flourish) and koru (new life). Patterning in most cultures has ancient beginnings. Māori used patterns to tell stories.