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Original painting SOLD, oil on canvas, 400 x 1500mm, 2008
Print sizes and editions (limited to 275)
- Regular museum archival paper print - 147 x 550mm
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- Sofia Minson creates your exclusive signed print
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The story of Manaia
This work depicts a realm of deep night in Maori creationary mythology and explores the legend of Ranginui (sky father) and Papatuanuku (earth mother).
Before our world existed, tradition tells that Ranginui and Papatuanuku clung together in a close, loving embrace. They are depicted in this painting as the grey panels above and below respectively, leaving just a slither of black space in between. This central dark band describes the confined environment between Rangi and Papa in which their 70 divine sons were born.
In the middle of the work is a manaia bone carving symbolizing their strongest child - Tanemahuta. The manaia is an ancient mythical being with a bird's head and a human form. It is said to be the messenger between the earthly world of mortals and the domain of the spirits. The original meaning behind the manaia has been the subject of much controversy. As well as being ascribed the attributes of a bird-headed man, it has also been interpreted as a snake, a raft, a seahorse and a lizard.
In some accounts of the creation myth, the children of Rangi and Papa had to "crawl about like lizards" and others were forced to lie on their sides because there was so little room between their parent's embrace. Tanemahuta, along with many of his brothers yearned for more air, space and light in which to live. Legend holds that in planting his head on the earth and thrusting his feet against the sky, Tane eventually succeeded in separating his mother and father.
Once liberated, the children of Ranginui and Papatuanuku became the various gods of Aotearoa who now govern the forests, sea, wind and other natural forces.
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork