Maori TV interviews Sofia Minson about portrait of her sister

Watch this video of Maori TV news Te Kaea interviewing me last week at Parnell Gallery about my portrait painting The Other Sister, which has just sold...

'The Other Sister'
Original oil painting on canvas, 850 x 1800mm, 2012, sold
Limited Edition of 75 Prints, 550mm wide x 260mm high, available

This work is part of an ongoing Contemporary Maori Portrait Series, in which I am interested in painting creative and inspiring Maori people who are helping to evolve today's culture through their own artforms or roles in society.

The portrait is of my sister Tess who is of Ngati Porou (Maori), Swedish, English and Irish ancestry.

'The Other' in the title comes from this TED talk I watched called "Take the Other to Lunch".

This portrait presents a juxtaposition of at least two distinct cultural 'others'. As is the case with many people who live in Aotearoa today, Tess encompasses both Maori and Pakeha. The work explores how we are connecting to our ancestors in this contemporary world and in this case Tess, who has very light coloured hair, is pictured with a simple Moko Kauae (Maori chin tattoo). Moko Kauae is becoming more and more popular nowadays as a way for Maori women to express their connection to their tupuna (ancestors). The generic nature of the design in this portrait and the young age of the subject suggests that it is a drawn-on moko commonly seen in Kapa Haka (Maori cultural performances) rather than a real tattooed moko, which would be unique to her status and whakapapa (genealogy).

I'm of mixed Ngati Porou and European ancestry and I paint with oils on canvas in the vein of Lindauer and Goldie, creating contemporary Maori portraits for a new generation.
19th century European artists looked upon Maori subjects believing them to be part of a noble and dying race. I am redirecting the cultural gaze of indigenous portraiture by being a Maori artist painting Maori subjects, subjects who are finding creative ways to engage with their culture and express their whakapapa, often visibly through Ta Moko.

The subjects' hyper-realistic, detailed eyes hold the viewer's gaze, thereby claiming their own sense of empowerment while looking outward at the world.

Posted by artist Sofia Minson from NewZealandArtwork.com
New Zealand Maori portrait and landscape oil paintings


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