Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Meet the People - 8

Another in the Series Meet the People – Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things – Christchurch-based Maori artist, Rua Pick (Waitaha, Ngati Ruapekapeka) creates works “of the spirit, for the spirit – timeless stories of sky, land and sea.” Rua grew up in Northland in the Bay of Islands surrounded by Maori myths and legends, the ocean and living traditions. He always had an interest in mythology, whether it be Maori or Greek and his continued interest in the dramas and foibles of the human condition are now played out in oils on canvas. Selwyn Wilson, one of the country’s first Maori art teachers, was influential during his Bay of Islands High School years. Rua later moved to Christchurch (after a two-year stint in Raglan) to study for a year at Ilam School of Fine Arts at Canterbury University.

Now 40, he has been working fulltime as an artist since 2000 and when he’s not painting in his upstairs Toko Mata Studio and Gallery in inner city Christchurch, he’s out exploring the land, “getting a feel for the land where the early stories were set.” One of his favourite spots is the limestone valley of Castle Hill, near Porter’s Pass “considered in Waitaha myth to be Te Whare Kohanga or the sacred nest of the sandstone grandmother. He also visits South Island Maori rock drawing sites, which have been a continuing inspiration for many of his paintings. Rua has exhibited extensively in group and solo shows throughout New Zealand; he’s been a finalist in the Wallace Trust Awards numerous times; and a number of his works illustrated the book “Whispers of Waitaha – Traditions of a Nation.” He’s currently guest artist at a show at Nelson’s Suter Art Gallery (until April 26) and if you click on Rua Pick in the index line below, you’ll see some of the works in his studio stairwell. You’ll also find many more of his paintings on his website - www.ruapick.vc.net.nz

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