Ta Moko: a contemporary Maori perspective

Heeni Hirini and child, 1878.

Something a little different today: follow this link to a recent article by New Zealand’s NewsHub on Ta Moko (facial tattooing), including a brief history of ta moko in New Zealand and a video where Maori people with ta moko discuss the significance of the art in contemporary Maori culture and their own lives.

Originally posted to mark Waitangi Day 2017 (the New Zealand public holiday celebrated annually on February 6th to mark the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between representatives of Maori tribes and the British crown), it’s definitely well worth checking out.

Let me know what you thought.

Summer Holidays #3: The Portraits of Gottfried Lindauer (1829-1926)

Heeni Hirini and child, 1878. This was one of Lindauer’s most famous works, and he reproduced it numerous times.

When the classically-trained Bohemian artist Gottfried Lindauer arrived in New Zealand in 1874 it marked the beginning of one of the most significant eras in New Zealand’s artistic history. Lindauer set up shop as a portrait artist in the nascent British colony, producing exquisitely detailed paintings of some of the more prominent colonists, and wedding portraits for middle-class couples. But it wasn’t long before he came to be intrigued by another set of artistic subjects: Maori rangatira (chiefs) and other Maori people of note. Continue reading “Summer Holidays #3: The Portraits of Gottfried Lindauer (1829-1926)”

Local Culture: Richard Wootton’s ‘Marking Time: Portraits of the Inked’ at the Sarjeant Gallery

I’m pleased to report that I’m safely home from Kaikoura, and diving back into my local art scene.

Richard Wootton, ‘Morgan Tompsett’, Wellington 2016

Back in 2009, the New Zealand media reported that one in five adult New Zealanders was tattooed, with the rate rising to just over one in three for people aged 18 to 30. Tattoo, (or ‘moko’ in te reo Maori) played a significant role in traditional Maori and Polynesian culture, and although it went into decline during the early to mid- twentieth century, the Maori cultural renaissance of the late 20th century brought the art form back into the New Zealand mainstream. In addition to, or possibly coat-tailing on, this change, tattoo has also gained a significant place in contemporary European (‘White’) New Zealand culture. Continue reading “Local Culture: Richard Wootton’s ‘Marking Time: Portraits of the Inked’ at the Sarjeant Gallery”