Portrait of Tiki Taane on 40ft Shipping Container



The story of Portrait of Tiki Taane on 40ft Shipping Container

In February 2014 Sofia Minson was commissioned to paint a portrait of musician Tiki Taane on a 40ft shipping container on Queens Wharf in downtown Auckland City.

It took the artist, who is mostly known for her finely detailed oil paintings that are usually created over several months, just 6 days from start to finish to paint the 40ft long artwork with house paints and brushes.

The shipping container is called an Art Box and every six weeks it receives a new lick of white paint and becomes a fresh canvas for a new artist.

"Coming from an oil painting background I enjoyed the new challenge of using acrylics on the vertically corrugated container surface and I had to adopt new vertical dry brushing and wet dripping techniques" says Minson.


Sofia Minson. Photo courtesy of Brendan Kitto Photography

If you ask Minson why an oil painter is doing massive scale outdoor works on a shipping container she admits to enjoying the blurred lines of the nature or 'classification' of this sort of artwork. Is it public art, street art, commercial art or fine art? "Perhaps it's all of those things" she says. "I want to stay true to my path while enjoying the freedom of not boxing myself into one sort of art making. In other words I am growing and extending what I've always been interested in. My aim is to always keep excited about what I'm creating, learn new techniques, and to keep authentic, rather than chasing someone elses idea of having a 'successful' career as a fine artist or contemporary artist. That'll be what keeps me painting into my 90s!"

The other side of the container was painted by Erika Pearce, an Auckland artist making waves with her bold, colourful murals filling the walls of the new Mexicali Fresh restaurants.

The interior of the "Tiki Box" is also open for the public to view videos and recordings by Taane.

The process:

Sofia on Day 1


Erika Pearce on Day 1




 shipping-container-tiki-taane-portrait-painting-sofia-minson-new-zealand-artwork-Brendan Kitto

Photo courtesy of Brendan Kitto Photography


Photo courtesy of Brendan Kitto Photography


Brendan KittoSofia Minson and Dave


Minson's 2011 black and white oil portrait of Tiki Taane with full-face moko appears on his new acoustic album "With Strings Attached".

The work is part of an ongoing series of contemporary Maori portraits, in which Sofia shines a light on creative and inspiring Maori people who are helping to evolve today's culture through their art or roles society. This oil portrait of Tiki with painted face moko brings clearly to view the connection he forges between himself and his whakapapa.

Tiki and Sofia came to know each other because they were "in the same issue of Mana Magazine a few years ago" explains Sofia.  "Tiki emailed me to say that he liked my art and that we should think of a way to collaborate together in the future, perhaps through album artwork or merchandise for his music. I actually think of this portrait as a collaboration because the painting is so full of Tiki's story and his presence, which comes through his Ta Moko and the intensity of his eyes."

Minson's mixed Maori (Ngati Porou), Swedish, English and Irish ancestry has sparked her interest in how we relate to the culture of our ancestors in a contemporary world. Taane has worn his moko previously as artwork: inspired by C.F. Goldie portraits, he presents himself with full facial moko on the cover of his Past, Present, Future album. In this painting he proudly wears his moko, an outward sign of his inner growth and resilience.

Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork

SKU: 133

This product has been added to your cart