“Painting is Priestly. Through the whole process of finding my place as an artist, I have found the Christian pursuit of inner truth to be the key that unlocks true identity. Thus my faith is an integral part of my work. I see creativity as something that is given by the divine creator. My Tupuna understood the arts to be a tapu gift that originally came down from heaven. My work then is a search that is in one sense upward (towards heaven) and inward (towards my humanity). Painting is a discovery of self that is personal and deeply spiritual. To paint is to be in a place where I am aware of the presence of my creator and I am aware of the need to articulate what I can only describe at times as groans - feelings, concerns, intuitions, memories. I bring myself, my memories, I bring my broken humanity, I bring physical paint and brushes and I journey on paper and canvas to the place that is unburdened, released, washed, resolved in the presence of God. To me, artists in the world around them, articulate the inner groanings of a voiceless humanity and mediate divine insights from another world.”
Bi-cultural roots My father was Maori and my mother is Scottish / English descent. When I was five years old, my father abandoned my mum and us three young boys, vanishing overseas and we never saw him again. My brothers and myself grew up in rural Northland in the 1970’s. Then during our adolescent years in the 80’s we gravitated to Auckland to receive our schooling. Our education then was primarily pakeha.
The paternal void of our Maori heritage was only partially filled by occassional contacts with my father’s family and marae visits during the high school years. (I say partially because having no father meant that a large part of ‘self-knowledge’ was missing). As with many of my Maori and Polynesian mates around me, we struggled to understand our place of identity in a Pakeha world.
Journeying through the arts: As a youngster, people used to affirm my artwork. Obviously for a kid who was looking for self-worth and a turangawaewae (a place of standing and a sense of secure home), mastering ‘the arts’ became an important part of ‘me’. At 6 I began to draw to gain 'control' over my basic skill levels. By an early age I had acquired most of my adult drafting skills. At 17 I got accepted to exhibit my first paintings in a group show at a provincial gallery (Sargeants Wanganui). By 23 I had finished my Masters in Fine Arts at Elim School of Fine Arts (Auckland University).
My 6 years at Elim exposed me to the National Maori Arts group "Nga Puna Waihanga’ and most of the Maori Arts scene in New Zealand (late 80’s and early 90’s). For a lot of Maori artists at that time, doors of opportunity were opening in the Pakeha Galleries in Auckland and larger dealer galleries around the country. The Maori arts were now seen as acceptable to the mainstream. It was an exciting time and there was a lot of good art being done. However at that time I choose, not to use my tupunas (ancestors) artforms, as there was still much unresolved anger and pain, blocking my acceptance of that part of my identity.
International travels: After being invited to exhibit in Memphis U.S.A 1991 at an Arts expo focusing on New Zealand, I continued travelling through USA for 6 months and then ended up in London England. Where I set up my studio in a warehouse owned by RK Burt and Sons. In London, eventually I was taken under wing by a pakeha Anglican priest Rev Bill Heald. My time with Bill was a re-parenting experience, and a lot of my, 'troubles', fears and creative blocks to my father’s heritage were ‘dissolved’ there. One pleasant discovery was an intuitive understanding of kowhaiwhai, which now took it's place, in my artwork, as an understood and restful expression of my Maori heritage. (see the kowhaiwhai pages).
In 1995 I married Ana Vyvyan in London. Being married and having children has since been both a terrifying and a wonderful process of learning, relearning and convalesence. In my life a lot of inner healing occured before I was married, yet my wife Ana has helped 'incarnate' some of the most important abstract understandings of heavenly love to me. Tied in with this has been a restoration of healthy and godly relationsihps with other 'whole' men and also through this an acceptance of who I am: as a man, as a husband, as a father and finally as a son to a heavenly Father (something which previously had been very abstract to me). By 1999 with Ana's second pregnancy, and following my final show in September in London, we chose to return to New Zealand to raise our growing family.
Return to NZ: The doors that opened up for us in New Zealand were in the South Island town of Blenheim. There I worked as a youth pastor and have done numerous other jobs to provide income for my family. Finally midway through 2007, having completed the building of my artists studio, I returned to painting and I have been working as an artist, ever since.
1984-1990University of Auckland
M. F. A. Painting (Dissertation ‘Te poho o Ihu Karaiti – a thematic alternative’)
B. F. A. Painting (Art History, Maaori language & Sociology papers)
2002“Portraits” Cloisters Gallery Arts Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand.
2002“The worship of the Body” SOA Gallery, Blenheim, Marlborough, New Zealand.
1999“Faith” Atlantis gallery, Brick Lane – Aldgate, London, United Kingdom
1997“Faith” Don Riley’s Dance Studio’s,C’nr Southwark St and Trale St, ,London S.E.1, United Kingdom
1991“Te Poho o Ihu Karaiti” Memphis in May festival, Overton Square, Memphis, Tennessee U.S.A.
1990“Te Poho o Ihu Karaiti” Auckland Society of Arts, Ponsonby, Auckland, New ZealandGroup Exhibitions
2005“Kei Puta Te Wairau”, Milennium Gallery, Blenheim, New Zealand.
2004“Maoriartz”, Auckland, New Zealand.
2003“12” Mair Gallery, CoCA, Christchurch, New Zealand.
2002“Turangawaewae, our people our place” Suter gallery, Nelson, New Zealand
1999“Art” , St Pauls Onslow Square, Kensington, London, England1990“Te Aitenga” National Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand
1989“New Zealand Contemporary Artists” Chase Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
1988“100 Years: Elam Centenary” Auckland Museum, Auckland, New Zealand“Artistic Collusion” Pembridge Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand“Elam Painters” Pembridge Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand
1987“Elam Painters” Pembridge Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand “Works on Paper” Gallery No.5, Auckland, New Zealand
1986“Elam Painters” Pembridge Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand“Contemporary Maaori Artists” Ngaa Puna Waihanga, Gallery No. 5, Auckland New Zealand
1985“Elam Printmakers” Fish Shop Gallery, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand1983“New Zealand
Contemporary Artists” Sargeant City Gallery, Wanganui, New Zealand
(Those remembered) 2005 July, Chrysalis Seed CS News Arts Quarterly – “I bring my broken humanity.” Interview with Andrew Panoho, The Commercial Appeal, May 7 1991, Byrd Davis, Anna, “Artist Forges Spiritual Links to Unite Maaori With Tribal Past”, front page, Memphis Tennessee, U.S.A. ; ‘Informania’ March, National Television, Channel 3, New Zealand, ‘Informania’ trailer for international Air N.Z. flights. ; Challenge Weekly, August 2nd , 1990, “Art Blends Culture With Convictions” ; Art News, Whibley Margaret “From the Meeting House”.
(Those remembered) The James Wallace Collection, PO Box 5508, Wellesley Street, Auckland, New ZealandColenso Art Collection, Colenso 100 College Hill, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand. Chrysalis Seed Trust Christchurch, New Zealand.Rudd Watt & Stone Collection 125 Queen Street, P.O. Box 3798 Auckland. New ZealandThe John Weeks Trust, Auckland University, Symond St Auckland, New Zealand