From Hikurangi to Hibernia
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Original painting SOLD, oil on canvas, 1500 x 1500mm, 2007
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Print sizes and editions (limited to 275)
- Regular museum archival paper print - 630 x 630mm
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The story of From Hikurangi to Hibernia
"From Hikurangi to Hibernia" was chosen as a finalist in the 2008 Adam Portraiture Awards held in Wellington.
Watch this video of judge Lilly Koltun commenting on the piece:
"From Hikurangi to Hibernia" describes a meeting of cultures, lands and histories. Sofia is Ngati Porou (a tribe from the east coast of the North Island) and Hikurangi is the name of their sacred mountain. Hikurangi's snow-capped peaks are pictured on the distant horizon. In contrast, Hibernia is the latin and poetic name for Ireland. Sofia is also of Irish heritage, with her full-blooded Maori great-grandmother marrying an immigrant Irishman in the late 19th century.
"Do you ever get the feeling our ancestors are dreaming us into being?" asks the artist.
"Are we the memory of our tīpuna? Of the gods? In this artwork my nanny's sister contemplates her dreamscape. I sometimes get the sensation that we are moving backwards in a squirly time loop towards the Source, closer to the singularity every day. Like Auset (Isis) puts the pieces of her dismantled husband Ausar (Osiris) back together again, our role here seems to be to shed the amnesia we were dropped off here with, and re-member who we are into wholeness."
- Sofia Minson
"Ka maumaharatia ō tātou tīpuna"
"We are the memory of our ancestors"
In the background, Magestic Pouakai Eagles soar over the land. The remarkable native creatures with a wingspan of up to three meters went extinct in 1400 AD. Before one's eye is drawn to the surreal landscape aspect of this work, the Maori woman in the foreground is the dominant subject. She wears 1960's western-style clothing and carries a kete (Maori flax bag). She was originally inspired by some old photos of the artist's own whanau in a marae (maori meeting house) setting.
An ancestral presence
The traditional carved wooden panel and the distant totem pole to her right suggest an ancestral presence that reminds the woman of her origins, her people and her land. Glistening red and curving into a dark, shadowy centre is the native Kaka Beak flower, which grows from the vine creeping up the carving. This is Papatuanuku (mother earth) from which she was born. "From Hikurangi to Hibernia" illustrates a time when Maori were experiencing heavy Europeanization in New Zealand.
The dreamscape nature of the work brings the subject out of time and place. Her origins, future and worldly influences all converge in an unearthly setting of golden light and cross-cultural style.
A touching portrait
As seen in the video above, judge Koltun described the painting as "a particularly touching portrait". She went on to say "What is particularly impressive about this work is the way in which Sofia's managed to combine a sense of realism and accuracy in the individual person with a sense that they are meditating and in a dreamland about their own past. There's an interesting play between the realism of Emma and what she perhaps was meditating on, the family portrait. The colouring that's used both for Emma and for the space is so similar that she seems to become a part of her landscape and a part of those dreams of the past."
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork