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New Zealand: Auckland – Colin McCahon Foremost Artist in New Zealand

1919 was the centennial year of artist Colin McCahon’s birth so the Auckland Art Gallery set up an full exhibit of the breadth of his work, McCahon said of his work, “My painting is almost autobiographical. It tells you where I am at any given time” His type of art shifts as he moves to new locations. McCahon was a driving force for art in NZ; He helped run the Auckland CityArt gallery, installed exhibitions, taught art classes and painted too.

New Zealand: Auckland – NZ Artist Colin McCahon Word Paintings

Starting way back in the 1950’s New Zealand artist Colin McCahon used words to create paintings. Many of these word paintings related to his faith and take texts from the bible. To emphasize thoughts, he uses capitalization, density and cursive writing, to suggest to you how you might read the text. This painting is thought to be his last one as it was found upside-down on the floor after he died.

New Zealand: Auckland – Graphic Art by Colin McCahon, New Zealand

Born in 1919, Colin McCahon was a driving force for art in NZ. The Auckland Art Gallery set up an full exhibit of the breadth of his work, McCahon said of his work, “My painting is almost autobiographical. It tells you where I am at any given time” He lived in 3 different geographic areas of New Zealand and you can see his art shift when his eye meets a new location.

New Zealand: Auckland – Photo of Tattoo Artist (Tohunga) at work

Tohunga or tattoo artists are still at work in New Zealand creating the symbolic intricate body tattoos for the Maori people. You can see these photos in the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki’s Living Portrait gallery.

New Zealand: Auckland – To-hunga-ta-moto: Tattoo Artists at Work

Found this painting of tattooing, the most interesting of Gottfried Lindauer’s paintings in the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki’s Living Portrait gallery. Only the most important tattoo artists (Tohunga) are allowed to create and maintain the integrity of the facial tattoo art form. This work is being done on a porch while a young tribal leader lies on a whariki, a special mat allowed for those high rank. His head rests on lap of the Tohunga while his hands are clenched in obvious discomfort. The other gentleman is also a Tohunga and he is chanting rituals for a safe and successful completion of  the pawaha, the creation of the important tatooed facial lines.

New Zealand: Auckland – Two Faces of a Maori Tribal Leader

Here are two painted versions of Renata Kawepo, Tama ki Hikurangi found in the Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. The first painting is by Gottfried Lindauer, the portrait artist, who painted most of the famous leaders. The second one, in a more modernistic style, is by Ayesha Green who shares a tribal connection to Kawepo being of Ngati Kahungunu, from the Hawke’s Bay region of New Zealand. Renata Kawepo is buried there.

New Zealand: Auckland – Hanging City in Auckland NZ Art Gallery

Thirty-nine per cent of people living in the NZ area were born somewhere else. In 2018, artists Alfredo and Isabel Aquilizan created Pillars: Project Another Country to expound on human migration across oceans, displacement, relocation and settlement. When you move from one place to another, how do you become part of a community, what constitutes your family, and how are houses/homes built around these needs and relationships? The Aquilizans were born in the Philippines, work between Manila and Brisbane, so they very well understand the conversation about ‘belonging’ and what people call ‘home’. This huge hanging upside-down sculpture shows people falling out of a boat and creating homes.

New Zealand: Auckland – Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

So many of New Zealand’s famous names are unknown in North America. In 1919, the centennial year of artist Colin McCahon’s birth, a huge exhibit of many of his creations was set up in the Auckland Art Gallery. This is one of McCahon’s earlier paintings titled “The first Waterfall” which was painted in 1964. McCahon was a driving force for art in NZ; He helped run the Auckland CityArt gallery, installed exhibitions, taught art classes and painted too. 

 

US: Seattle, WA – Facing You

Rainbow glass art in Seattle. It’s called Facing You by Marvin Oliver.

 

Italy, Florence: Ponte Vecchio Fountain

It makes sense that a bust/fountain on the Ponte Vecchio would be of a sculptor and goldsmith, Benvenuto Cellini. Cellini did not have any connection with the jewelry shops on the bridge, which are there today because when he was alive, butcher shops lined the bridge. The artist, in a shout out to Cellini, used motifs taken from the pedestal of Perseus, Cellini’s masterpiece. The inscription on the monument states: “To Benvenuto Cellini ­ Master ­ The Goldsmiths of Florence.”