The power of portraits - what inspired the 'Goldie' wall?

We talk to Sofia to find out about the ideas and inspirations behind our newest gallery feature: the Goldie wall

What inspired the Goldie wall?

“Our idea for the Goldie wall came from seeing the C.F. Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer portrait collections at our national galleries such as Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa.”

“I was inspired by how powerful these Māori portraits are, telling the stories of generations of Māori from all around the country, with many different iwi represented.”

“We wanted our own Goldie wall to be an intimate one-on-one experience with my portraits displayed on a single wall together. This is why we chose archival paper fine art prints, as we were able to get the scale we wanted, while still capturing the impact.”

How are you inspired by Goldie as an artist?

“I’m inspired by C.F. Goldie’s portrayals of Māori. He was an artist who some say took it upon himself to record in precise detail, the 'vanishing race' of Māori. This was a belief commonly held at the turn of the 20th century.

“What I’m doing now with my Māori portraits is painting our living, evolving culture with a mythological lens. I’m feeling that powerful portrayal from history and creating images of kaitiaki (guardians) that I connect with now in the 21st century. I’m using the Western medium of oil and acrylic paint but I'm not coming at it from the same colonial viewpoint as Goldie. Rather, I'm exploring indigenous symbols as an indigenous Ngāti Porou artist living in a multi-cultural world. In that way, it changes the perspective. Now it is about exploring who we are from the inside out.”

How do you see the pieces interacting with one another?

“I wanted them to all be guardians. They are all different archetypes, each representing different divine qualities and evoking a sense of guardianship – whether it be the divine feminine in Queen of Ra, or the masculine energy of Taane in Kaitiaki.”

What do guardians mean to you?

"Kaitiaki or guardians feel like intelligence or presence watching over you, protecting you and helping you along your path. They could be atua (gods), tupuna (ancestors) or many other levels of beings. I believe there is something valuable in bringing a sacred quality back into our daily lives. The Goldie wall is made up of guardians who are helping us question and look into who we are and different aspects of ourselves – be it feminine wisdom, male energy, or trickster tendencies. It’s through this lens that we are able to dive deeper into ourselves.”

What role did framing play in the creation of the Goldie wall?

“Framing was a huge part of the creative process. It helped us portray these Māori portraits as historically significant, a cohesive exhibition that work together. We went with frames that complemented the particular pieces, while overall having an ornate, antique quality.”

“When it came to framing, State of the Art Framing did an amazing job. Because we chose fine art archival paper, we went with non-reflective glass to protect it without compromising the look of the piece.”

Do you have a favourite piece out of the collection?

“I love all the pieces but there’s something about Rose of the Cross that stands out to me. The ornateness of the frame really brings out the decorative features of the piece. With the roses in the background, the organic frame enhances the flourishing nature of the portrait, attracting you and drawing you in.”

Browse our fine art print collection today


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