John Bevan Ford was internationally renowned for his intricate ink drawings based on recognisable customary art forms: raranga (weaving), kōwhaiwhai (rafter paintings), korowai (woven cloaks) and carving patterns. His work often brings together two distinct elements: landscapes and kahu (cloak forms).
He began exhibiting in 1966 and, over the following 20 years, became a leading figure in contemporary Māori art, garnering a reputation as a skilled carver and champion for arts education. He held teaching positions at Hamilton Teachers’ College and Massey University in Te Papa-i-Oea/Palmerston North, before retiring from academia in 1988 to become a full-time artist. Ford received the Creative New Zealand Te Waka Toi Kingi Ihaka Award (2005) in acknowledgement of his contributions to Māori art and education.
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