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Limited edition of 95 signed fine-art prints available on museum archival card. 805mm high x 500mm wide. Unframed prints shipped FREE in NZ, $35 internationally.
Original flashe (acrylic vinyl) painting on canvas, 1975 x 1350mm (including frame), 2017. Contact us to inquire about the original.
This portrait began as a feeling I was curious to uncover. While I painted her she was a sacred mirror to me, reflecting back a quiet, strong, authentic quality.
Her form was inspired by dozens of 19th and 20th century black and white photographs of Maori. I pieced together this portrait from our young female ancestors in those photos. And she has become something entirely new in the creative process.
The clothes we wear each day become our costumes. They symbolise who we are and indicate to people how they should relate to us. In the same way, Hine-tītama's clothing and adornments in this portrait give us an impression of her mana or status.
She wears a stylised korowai (traditional Māori cloak), painted in reflective gold. The korowai is detailed with subtle grey tāniko designs - geometric patterns woven into the borders of fine garments. Her chin bears the indelible mark of Moko Kauae (tattoo) signifying whakapapa (lineage). And she has a sacred white-tipped huia feather in her hair.
The huia feather is a symbol of her divinity. Manu huia travelled through the Twelve Heavens from the uppermost to our earthly realm. He was charged with delivering a message to Tāne, that it was time for him to come and receive the baskets of knowledge.
Legend of the Lady of the Dawn
After finishing the piece and sitting with her for a while, I realised that she embodied a particular goddess. Her name is Hine-tītama, meaning “Lady of the dawn.”
Hine-tītama’s father was Tāne, the god of the forest and progenitor of mankind. Her mother was Hineahuone - the first woman, the first human. Hineahuone was formed by Tāne from the earth.
Tāne betrayed Hine-tītama. He slept with her without telling her that he was her father. When she realised the truth she fled to the underworld of chaos and potentially. She became Hine-nui-te-pō, the Great Woman of the Night. She now lovingly welcomes her human children as they pass through death into the next realm.
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork
Hinetitama, Hine-titama, Maori portrait