Beneath the Surface – cultural Identity

Continuing the series of paintings I completed in Rotorua at the Artists residency. This is a series of two works in the iconic Rotorua Government Gardens showing the influences on the area. In the first painting I focus on the colonial times dating back to the early 1900’s when the building was designed. It was built as a bath house which reminds me of Rotorua’s long tourism history. Although it is no longer a spa, it sits next to the equally famous Polynesion Spa which continues the role. The building is currently closed for earthquake strengthening. When it re-opens for a new chapter in its evolving life, continuing as a museum and major tourist attraction.

Government Gardens #1: Colonial Identity

610 x 910 mm Acrylic on Canvas, 2020

The painting shows the Englishness of the iconic Rotorua Government Gardens building and surrounding environment. The tudor (Officially Elizabethan revivalist) building was finished in 1908 as a spa and bath house to attract tourists. The environs house the lamp poles, park benches, bowls area. The seal of New Zealand shows the Maori warrior with a young Queen. Is it fading away?

Government Gardens Rotorua – Maori/Pacific identity

610 x 910 mm Acrylic on Canvas, 2020

This painting shows the bi-cultural nature of the building and environment. The original tudor building remains but with coloured glass windows, phoenix palm, pou whenua and fence motif. I also incorporated the Hundertwasser koru flag, a symbol of this transition away from our colonial past. Is this aspect getting stronger?

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