Sofia Minson: Unique art on the world stage
Drawing on common myths and legends that unite us all, Sofia’s work has universal appeal, leading to exhibitions in such prominent cultural centres as:
- New York
- New Zealand - Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown
Ancestral wisdom from around the world
She paints striking images inspired by her Ngāti Porou Māori, English, Swedish and Irish heritage.
Her work is unlike anything else on the world stage.
As an indigenous Māori artist from New Zealand, she has the unique perspective of having also lived in Samoa, China and Sri Lanka, and travelled extensively beyond.
With each brushstroke she expertly weaves ancestral wisdom from around the world into images for a globally connected audience.
"I'm making sacred art that integrates our modern human experience with the wisdom of our ancestors.
These are aspirational symbols to help us navigate this strange new world."
- Sofia Minson
Art that makes a statement in your home
Sofia’s work is in impressive private art collections worldwide.
With a 14 year proven track-record, her art has exponentially increased in value.
Her sought-after, large-scale canvases provide the perfect statement piece for architecturally-built lodges and homes.
Her art has found its place on the walls of the Marlborough Lodge and former Auckland boutique hotel Mollies, now a private estate.
A reminder of home, Sofia’s work is often collected by New Zealand expats living in the US, UK, Australia and Asia, providing a special link to the owners upbringing.
Sofia’s work is in the private collections of:
- Chart-topping musician Shania Twain
- Chief executives and industry-heads in:
- Property development
- Investment banking
- Retirement village groups
- The owners of professional sports teams
- The president of Adidas North America
World class artist
Own the work of an award-winning artist
Sofia has won three national art awards, including the prestigious Molly Morpeth Canaday Art Award. She is a four-time finalist in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery’s Adam Portraiture Awards.
Her powerful compositions feature in public art galleries:
- Te Papa
- Pataka Museum
- New Zealand Portrait Gallery
A prominent name in New Zealand portrait art, Sofia was commissioned by New Zealand Portrait Gallery to paint anthropologist Dame Joan Metge as part of the gallery’s permanent collection.
Sofia’s work is a must in any significant collection of indigenous art.
She features in the documentaries:
A mix of cultures: Sofia’s early life and heritage
Sofia’s work is inspired by her mixed heritage – Ngāti Porou Māori, Swedish, English and Irish – and her early life spent living in various countries.
Growing up in New Zealand, Samoa and Sri Lanka because of her father’s engineering work, she became interested in the connection between diverse people, cultures and religions.
Art keeps Sofia connected to her Māori roots while allowing her to celebrate the cultural and religious diversity she experienced overseas.
Art inspired by people, nature and ancient symbols
Sofia paints diverse subjects with a thread of ancestral wisdom running through them.
- Māori portraits with facial moko
- Mountainous New Zealand landscapes
- Wild oceans and seascapes with carved waka
- Animals, birds and sacred geometry
Hundreds of 19th century black and white photographs of Māori have been Sofia’s inspiration. These visual records provide a sense of the mana (integrity) of generations past.
Her portraits often depict deities and mythical characters, their faces imagined, but with hints of her own ancestors and the sitters in those historic photographs.
Mana Wāhine or The Divine Feminine is emphasised in her female portraits.
Well-known contemporary Māori such as Tame Iti and Tiki Taane have been painted by Sofia. She enjoys depicting creative people who are helping to evolve today’s culture through their own art forms and roles in society.
Sofia loves to immerse herself in a new project that’s outside the box, whether it’s collaborating with other artists, painting at a live jazz event or getting out the scaffolding to paint a lifelike portrait on 12m shipping container.
Sofia has won three national awards including the Molly Morpeth Canaday Art Awards in 2005. She is a four-time finalist in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery's Adam Portraiture Awards.
Sofia works with community and wildlife charities through artwork donations. She painted a motorbike for Mike King’s I AM HOPE youth suicide prevention auction and a 1m high egg sculpture for Starship. She has collaborated with Orakei School pupils and children with autism for "Art for Autism" and even shaved her head to raise funds for leukemia research.
Sofia tends to go big with her public art: works include a painting on the side of a 12m shipping container and a 9 x 15m paste-up of her Tiki Taane portrait on a public wall. She has also contributed several other artworks to public spaces.
Sofia has participated in several group and joint shows in New Zealand and overseas in Italy and New York. She’s always eager to hop on a plane and explore a new country, while sharing her art.
Chosen to paint prominent New Zealand anthropologist Dame Joan Metge for the Makers of Modern New Zealand 1930 - 1990 exhibition, Sofia has added her own contribution to modern New Zealand with this evocative portrait, now part of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery’s permanent exhibition.
Sofia has worked on hundreds of projects so far in her career. If you're looking for the artist’s CV, it’s here in all its glory: a list of Sofia's art awards, projects, solo exhibitions and group shows, listed by year.
"Painting awe-inspiring characters is both grounding and uplifting in this fast paced digital world. I hope their stories and presence can provide a sense of connection for other people as well."
- Sofia Minson
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