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Limited edition of 95 signed fine-art prints available on museum archival card. 700mm high x 583mm wide. Unframed prints shipped FREE in NZ, $35 internationally.
Original painting Sold, flashe (acrylic vinyl) on moulded fibreglass board, 1556 x 1336mm (including gold frame), 2017
The elements collide. Earth is Ngāi Tahu’s sacred mountain Aoraki Mt Cook. Water is the snow and glaciers melting into the brilliant turquoise Lake Pukaki. Sky is the reflective metallic gold of Raa, the sun. The Hindu god Krishna encodes a message in sacred geometric patterns.
“Krishna Aoraki” is a statement piece. Luminous gold triangles imprint themselves onto your vision. Inter-dimensional messages are encoded in psychedelic geometric patterns.
The substrate I was working on lent character and direction to the artwork itself. It is fibreglass board, moulded with the deep cracks like gnarled concrete. I had three such boards to work on and all three drew out rugged, rocky, snow covered Aoraki from my imagination.
The legend of Aoraki, Cloud in the Sky
There was once no Aotearoa, the waters of kiwa covered the land. Rakinui, Sky Father, wedded Papatūānuku, Earth Mother. Raki’s four sons including Aoraki, came down to greet their father's new wife. They travelled in a canoe called Te Waka o Aoraki and met Papatūānuku. She lay as one body in a huge continent known as Hawaiiki.
Keen to explore, the voyagers set out to sea, but no matter how far they paddled, they could not find land. They decided to return to their celestial home. The karakia (incantation) which should have lifted the waka back to the heavens, failed. The canoe fell back into the sea, turning over onto its side, becoming stone and earth in the process.
The waka formed the South Island of New Zealand, known today as Te Waka o Aoraki. Aoraki and his brothers clambered on to the high side of the waka and were also turned to stone. Aoraki remains as the highest peak of the Southern Alps. His brothers are neighbouring mountains.
As a great Ngāi Tahu ancestor embodied in the mountain, Aoraki provides an important link between the supernatural and natural worlds. The highest places on earth are often tapu (sacred). They are powerful conduits between earth and dimensions beyond.
The people of Ngāi Tahu trace their lineage back to Tahupōtiki, the younger brother of Porourangi who was one of the great ancestors of Ngāti Porou - Sofia’s own iwi.
The legend of Krishna
Krishna is the god of compassion, tenderness, playfulness and love in Hinduism.
There are eight rows of triangles in the painting. They represent Krishna as the eighth incarnation of Vishnu, the preserving force in the universe. Krishna is also worshipped as Supreme God in his own right.
The bright blue of the lake mirrors the blue-skinned depictions of Krishna in traditional Hindu artworks.
Lila means playfulness for the sake of fun and enjoyment, not for gain. In legend, Krishna's flute-playing attracts people who come to sing and dance with him. Even when he is battling with a serpent to protect others, Krishna is described as if he were playing a game.
Lila is a way of describing the whole cosmos as the outcome of creative play by the divine absolute. Over the years I have become aware of the concept of lila in art making and I try and make my studio a place of lila.
The epic poem Mahabharata portrays Krishna’s evolution from a god-child. He becomes a cow herder, a mischievous prankster, a protector and an enchanting and playful lover. He steals the hearts of the people and is a divine hero who slays a tyrant king. He is also worshipped as the supreme power.
In the Bhagavad Gita, Krishna gives his friend Arjuna advice about the nature of life and morality when one is faced with a war between good and evil. They discuss the impermanence of matter, the permanence of the soul, duties and responsibilities and the nature of true peace.
What is Krishna Aoraki?
The name Krishna Aoraki brings two gods and two mythological traditions together - Hindu and Maori. This binding of the two gods in the title was instinctual. As I worked on the piece I understood the connections more fully.
The message I’m getting from this painting is that Aoraki is acting as a conduit between the heavens and the earth. This channel allows Krishna to come through in the form of this geometric pattern.
The pattern is inspired by Maori Tukutuku panels, seen in marae. Its triangular nature also makes me think of Egyptian pyramids, encoding hidden messages. Symbols have the power to bypass our conscious, resisting mind. They speak directly to our sub-conscious.
I think of these geometric symbols as a gateway through which Krishna consciousness reveals itself. And what is the message of Krishna? It seems to be that love, playfulness and living in the heart is not simply a means to salvation. It is the highest life.
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork
Ngai Tahu, Ngati Porou