The Garden of Waiapu
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Limited edition of 75 signed fine-art prints available on museum archival card. 152mm high x 550mm wide. Unframed prints shipped FREE in NZ, $35 internationally.
Original painting Sold, oil on canvas, 500 x 1810mm, 2007
"The Garden of Waiapu" depicts Sofia’s surreal imaginings of the ancient land and mythology of Aotearoa. The painting also explores connections between past and present, between the artist and her own Maori heritage. Sofia is of Ngati Porou descent but has always lived away from the East Cape of the North Island - the region where her iwi (tribe) settled after the fist waka (canoes) came to New Zealand centuries ago.
Words from the Ngati Porou proverb of identity are central to this work:
Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Waiapu te awa
Ko Ngati Porou te iwi
Hikurangi is the mountain
Waiapu is the river
Ngati Porou are the people
The environment consists of a vast, smooth stoned, waterless riverbed belonging to the sacred Waiapu river. Sofia, being the water element in traditional Chinese astrology, is absent from this picture of her ancestral homeland. Papatuanuku (earth mother) lies within the river stones that bathe in the subdued glow of Ranginui (sky father). She gives birth to enchanted plants, which emerge from crevices in the rocks and morph into various native New Zealand species including Karaka berries, Kaka Beak flowers and Ponga. A Tui perches on a delicate branch in the foreground and we share his gaze across the uncanny garden of Waiapu. Mt Hikurangi appears in the distance, encircled by now extinct Pouakai Eagles. Since the original migration, the mountain has remained a constant, unmoving guardian to Ngati Porou. Wise old Hikurangi has witnessed generations of creation, life and destruction in this fertile garden.
This painting describes a primordial world disconnected from our reality of time and space. Sofia's vision materializes in this eerie, sensuous environment and is brought to life by the wairua (spirit) of Aotearoa’s ancient land and mythology.
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork