In returning home to New Zealand, I was determined to gain a greater understanding of my Māori heritage and so I enrolled in the Bachelor of Māori Visual Arts at Massey University. It has been an enlightening and challenging journey and I am grateful to be on this adventure. I am learning so much and all my learned knowledge inspires paintings. Here are a few from this series.

Forming the Cosmos  acrylic on canvas, 136.5 x 34.5

Forming the Cosmos acrylic on canvas, 136.5 x 34.5

This painting starts in the dark black of Te Kore, nothing-ness, the void, a vacuum in nature wherein nothing existed. Into the period of Te Po, when the earth stratum developed spontaneously, personified as a female named Papatuanuku. The Sky was personified as a male, named Ranginui (blues & greens).

The recital of the Po names closes with the mating of Ranginui and Papatuanuku, but the period of darkness did not end, for Earth and Sky lay blended in the close embrace of matrimony for an indefinite period. They mated and the children dwelt in the darkness of their embrace (further shades of iridescent silver, blues and metallic green).

The children of Rangi and Papa did not want to stay in the darkness of their confinement and devised a plan to separate the primeval parents. Pushing them apart, the light of revelation flooded the realm, as Te Ao Marama was ushered in. The blood of separation being represented by the red, followed by the light of day.

When the Earth Wed the Sky  acrylic on linen, 91 x 61cm

When the Earth Wed the Sky acrylic on linen, 91 x 61cm

The Earth and Sky lay blended in matrimony and children were conceived, who lived within the folds of their close perpetual embrace. The children lived in darkness until they are desperate for the light.

In Pursuit of the Light  acrylic on linen, 61 x 61cm  Tane had seen the light of the Sun shining under the armpit of Rangi, so he consulted with his elder brothers about how they could separate their parents.

In Pursuit of the Light acrylic on linen, 61 x 61cm

Tane had seen the light of the Sun shining under the armpit of Rangi, so he consulted with his elder brothers about how they could separate their parents.

Forming the Landscape  acrylic on canvas, 61 x 61cm  They were so locked in their embrace, that their limbs were severed in the separation and blood flowed from Ranginui and Papatuanuku, soaking the earth.

Forming the Landscape acrylic on canvas, 61 x 61cm

They were so locked in their embrace, that their limbs were severed in the separation and blood flowed from Ranginui and Papatuanuku, soaking the earth.

Forming the Landscape 2  acrylic on linen, 91 x 61cm  The blood soaked body of Papatuanuku formed the origin from where the sacred red clay was obtained.

Forming the Landscape 2 acrylic on linen, 91 x 61cm

The blood soaked body of Papatuanuku formed the origin from where the sacred red clay was obtained.

Origins of Life  acrylic on linen, 91 x 61cm  The colours of darkness, light and blood, forming the whakapapa of creation.

Origins of Life acrylic on linen, 91 x 61cm

The colours of darkness, light and blood, forming the whakapapa of creation.

States of Existence  acrylic on canvas, 137 x 34cm

States of Existence acrylic on canvas, 137 x 34cm

‘Te Kore, the void, the emptiness before the genesis of time. In the beginning there was Te Korekore, the nothingness - a realm of potential being. The darkness was then transformed through the subtleties of a multitude of graduations of night Te Po (the darkness of becoming), then through the incipient planes of ever-increasing light, beyond the dawn, to Te Ao Marama, the world of light’ (Hotere).