Beneath the Surface – Maori myth

This is a series of two paintings I did in Rotorua during the 2019/2020 Summer Artist Residency Open Studios project. During the residency I took workshop participants walking on this path near the Blue Lake to experience the environment and hear the stories. The first painting from this series is called Tikitapu Walking.

Tikitapu Walking

500 x 760 mm Acrylic on Canvas, 2020

Original Painting  available for Sale  NZ $800 framed (excludes postage)

A3 Prints on Giclee Art Paper (unframed) $80 includes postage within NZ

The painting is based  upon the local myth of a young bride  (Tuhi-karaparapa) who travelled from Tarawera to Ohinemutu (Rotorua) via the beautiful Tikitapu (Blue lake) path. She was set upon and killed by a Taniwha called Kataore who had got ‘out of control’ . In Maori myth a taniwha is a supernatural creature that is often represented by a serpent or a dragon. This tanawha lived in a cave on the mountain between the blue and green lakes near Rotorua. I represented the taniwha with the dark figure hiding and partly obscured by the ferns but with a talon reaching out as a warning.

There is also another myth from this lake, about the loss of a tiki pendant by a young girl swimming. The tiki is a talisman and it fell into the lake and could not be found. The tiki was her protection.

The painting reminds me of the recent case of a beautiful young English backpacker who was killed in Auckland whilst on a date. We do not always know what dangers are lurking in the shadows. It is a reminder to always be aware of our surroundings and have a back-up plan.

Kua hinga te totara i te wao nui a Tane

A totara has fallen in the forest of Tane

500 x760 mm Acrylic on Canvas 2020

Original Painting   SOLD

A3 Prints on Giclee Art Paper (unframed) NZ $80 includes postage within New Zealand

The name represents a well-known Maori saying which is used when a person of great standing or ‘mana’ dies. An example is our famous mountaineer and philanthropist Sir Edmund Hillary who died in 2008. The painting reminds me of the people we have loved or respected who have gone and passed on responsibility to guard the forest and community. From an image I took on walk near Lake Okataina Rotorua.

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