Selwyn Wilson

Study of a head

Study of a head by Selwyn Wilson

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Ehara i te mea ko tā te whakaako toi he hanga i te ringa toi, i te kaiako toi anake. Ko tāku i wawata ai he hoatu ki ngā ākonga katoa he mōhiotanga ki te wāhi e nōhia ai rātou . . . me te mōhio ki te hoahoa o ngā mea whaiaroaro katoa o tō tātou ao.

– Selwyn Wilson, 1993

Ko ēnei ngā kupu matakite o te ringatoi, o te kaiako, a Selwyn Te Ngareatau Wilson. Ko tēnei whakaahua kiritangata hīanga me te tuone, he peita mō tāna irāmutu a Ponga Pomare Kīngi Cherrinton i tō rātou kāinga i Taumārere. E ai ki a Pomare, ‘Ka hoki mai au i te kura, kua whakaritea kētia e tōna Pāpā Selwyn te wāhi noho. Ka noho au ki te tūru, ka tū ia ki tīrewa peita ko ngā peita e rite ana. E rua rā te roa o te nohonga . . .’

I tutuki pai tāna whakaahua kiritanga, ā, ka whiwhi i a ia te taonga toa o te whakataetae Elam School of Art and Design i te tau 1948, ā, ka hokona e Toi o Tāmaki i taua tau tonu – i tutuki ēnei kaupapa katoa i mua i tāna whiwhi Pōkairua mō te Peita i te tau 1951. Ko Study of a Head, 1948 te toi Māori o nāianei tuatahi tonu kia whakauruhia ai ki tētahi kohinga toi i Aotearoa.

One doesn’t teach art just to make artists and art teachers. What I always aimed to give to all students was an awareness of the place where they live . . . and an eye for design of all functional things around us.

– Selwyn Wilson, 1993

These are the visionary words of artist and educator Selwyn Te Ngareatau Wilson. In this playful and gestural portrait Wilson paints his nephew Ponga Pomare Kingi Cherrington at their family homestead in Taumarere. Pomare recalled, ‘I would come home from school and Uncle Selwyn had set up the sitting. I sat in a chair and he stood at his easel with his paints. The sitting took two days . . .’

The portrait was a successful piece, winning first prize at an Elam School of Art and Design competition in 1948, and was purchased by Auckland Art Gallery the same year, all before Wilson graduated with a Diploma of Painting in 1951. Study of a Head, 1948 is the first contemporary Māori artwork to enter any art collection in New Zealand.

Title
Study of a head
Artist/creator
Production date
Unknown
Medium
oil on board
Dimensions
520 x 520 x 25 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1948
Accession no
1948/4
Copyright
Copying restrictions apply
Department
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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