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Original painting SOLD, oil on canvas, 570 x 1800mm, 2008
The story of Whaiawa
“Whaiawa” means Riverbed in Maori. Whai: Possessing. Awa: River. This painting depicts Sofia’s surreal imaginings of the ancient land and mythology of Aotearoa (New Zealand). The artist explores connections between past and present, between herself and her own Maori heritage.
Sofia is of Ngati Porou descent and words from her tribe’s ancient proverb of identity demonstrate the fundamental importance of land to Maori:
Ko Hikurangi te maunga
Ko Waiapu te awa
Ko Ngati Porou te iwi
Hikurangi is the mountain
Waiapu is the river
Ngati Porou is the tribe
Papatuanuku (earth mother) lies within the river stones that bathe in the subdued glow of Ranginui (sky father). She gives birth to an enchanted plant, which emerges from a crevice in the rocks and morphs into a native Kaka Beak flower with dangling Kaka berries. A Tui perches on a delicate branch and we share his gaze across the uncanny rock garden. The sacred Waiapu River is not absent from this riverbed, rather it is depicted as an intricate Maori design creeping over the rocks. The koru pattern describes a blood-like flow over the stones, which tells the stories of the past. The lives of ancestors become present in this motif, which reaches all the way to the distant horizon, to creation itself.
This painting describes a primordial dreamscape. Sofia's vision materializes in this eerie, sensuous environment and is brought to life by the wairua (spirit) of Aotearoa’s ancient people, land and mythology.
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork