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Limited edition of 75 signed fine-art prints available on museum archival card. 775mm high x 517mm wide. Unframed prints shipped FREE in NZ, $35 internationally.
Original painting Sold, oil on canvas, approx 3 x 2 metres, 2012
Towering at three metres high, this portrait of Travis Rapana (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whanaunga, Ngāti Whakaue, born 1972) took Minson nearly two years to complete. Rapana is the artist’s friend and is a descendant of Ngapuhi chief Hone Heke. Painted in sepia tones reminiscent of 19th century photographs of Maori, Rapana wears a traditional kiwi feather korowai (cloak), holds a mere (pounamu war club) above his head and could be mistaken for a historical chief if it weren’t for a lion tattooed on his chest - certainly not part of any ancient moko. The lion is the lion of Judah, the symbol of the Israelite tribe of Judah beginning with the patriarch Jacob in the Book of Genesis, the tribe into which Jesus was born.
Since 19th century colonial artists such as Lindauer and Goldie, there has been a surprising lack in the tradition of Maori oil portraiture. While Minson is inspired by their works, she says her contemporary Maori portraits “are far from Goldie’s recordings of a vanishing race” and are intended to fill an important niche for her generation. As a Maori artist of mixed heritage (Ngati Porou, Swedish and Irish) she uses the traditional Western medium of oil on canvas to show contemporary Maori as a vibrant and evolving people.
This painting is part of Minson's 4-18 September 2012 exhibition of new works at Parnell Gallery. Watch this Maori Television feature on the show:
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork