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MAUNGAKowhaiwhai&Word
Curvilinear Patterns

Puhoro - serpentine. Kowhaiwhai forms are the curvilinear patterns found on Meeting Houses rafters and important implements. These patterns were derived from the growth fronds of plants, and other organic forms. Their repeated forms indicated ‘generations’ and were used to mnemonically connect the gathered 'present' rural communities with their eponymous ancestors. Kowhaiwhai painting began to emerge in my own work quite unintentionally after reconnections to my fathers heritage through a pakeha Priest (Rev Bill Heald) in London of all places. These oils, watercolours & Indian ink drawings are playful discoveries of my own Nga Puhi - puhoro kowhaiwhai tradition.

About the medium - Some of my lkowhaiwhai and word paintings are 'wet on wet' watercolours on stretched cotton rag paper. (although the most recent paintings are transparent oils on board). In the watercolours I have reduced my colour pigments to just three (burnt Sienna, raw Sienna, prussian Blue) as my basic primaries. With the oils I have added, ultra marine, viridian green, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, 'orange hue, and 'red hue to my pallette. Many times I use no white or black, but instead rely upon the white of the paper, or the white of the gesso ground on the board, and the transparent nature of the medium, to create a 'luminescence' to the colours in my paintings.

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BackgroundEver since first missionary contact times with Europeans, Maori have used words in Meeting House: Carvings, Tukutuku, Kowhaiwhai designs etc... More recent artists such as Mc Cahon, Hotere and others are part of that ongoing lineage of an already well established cultural intercourse between Maori and Pakeha (European) art traditions for well over 180 years. My word paintings are from writers, or songs, poems, meditations and letters I have written.

About the medium Some of my word paintings are 'wet on wet' watercolours on stretched cotton rag paper. (although the most recent paintings are transparent oils on board). In the watercolours I have reduced my colour pigments to just three (burnt Sienna, raw Sienna, prussian Blue) as my basic primaries. With the oils I have added, ultra marine, viridian green, alizarin crimson, cadmium yellow, 'orange hue, and 'red hue to my pallette. Many times I use no white or black, but instead rely upon the white of the paper, or the white of the gesso ground on the board, and the transparent nature of the medium, to create a 'luminescence' to the colours in my paintings.

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