Aroha mai, aroha atu
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Limited edition of 75 signed fine-art prints available on museum archival card. 520mm high x 820mm wide. Unframed prints shipped FREE in NZ, $35 internationally.
Original painting Sold, Acrylic on canvas with black wooden ornate frame, 1090 x 1640mm, 2015
"Aroha mai, aroha atu" is a Maori proverb meaning "love received, love returned." To the artist this work describes balance and symmetry.
It is about seeing that polar opposites - positive and negative, darkness and light, male and female - are present in all things and are balancing each other out all the time, whether or not it is perceived this way.
Two extinct native huia birds perch on branches in the foreground showing how dramatically different the bill sizes and shapes were between female and male. Huia exhibited the most extreme sexual bill dimorphism of any bird species in the world and were said to have mated for life.
The Remarkables - Queenstown's distinct mountain range is reflected perfectly in Lake Wakatipu in the background. Although huia were a North Island bird, since their extinction they have occupied the imagination of the whole of New Zealand and in this South Island landscape, stake their claim as a universal emblem of Aotearoa, of ancestral connection, and of the two sides of love.
The technique Sofia used on this painting was to first layer the canvas with smoothly blended metallic gold, blue and copper acrylics and then map out in minute detail using black ink-like paint, the mountain range and its reflection in the lake. The huia were lastly painted as intricate Maori designs with a hint of Hindu mandala influence, in irridescent pearl white paint. The irridescent and metallic paint reflects the light and changes in mood depending on the angle of the light in the room, while the black in the painting absorbs the light and is deep, matt and unchanging.
Huia were striking large songbirds, mainly black with long white-tipped tail feathers. A fleshy orange wattle hung at the base of each side of the bill. Maori named the bird after its loud distress call, described as "a smooth, unslurred whistle rendered as uia, uia, uia or where are you?" The last accepted sighting was in 1907, but it is likely that a few huia persisted into the 1920s.
Sofia Minson Paintings | New Zealand Artwork