Ralph Hotere

No Ordinary Sun

No Ordinary Sun by Ralph Hotere

Artwork Detail

No Ordinary Sun is one of Ralph Hotere’s most important paintings. It is a homage to Hone Tuwhare’s famous poem of the same title, that was the direct inspiration for this artwork.

Hotere and Tuwhare met during the late 1950s and the poet sent the painter a manuscript copy of No Ordinary Sun while Hotere was working in London during 1963. On the 21st anniversary of the poem’s publication, Hotere created this work.

This painting’s palette is predominantly black and dark brown umber mixed with Van Dyke brown and Verdigris that has subsequently been over-burnished with a polisher. The poem’s text has then been over-painted in a loose and cursive manner. The ivory-toned writing acts like clouds surrounding a darkened sun hovering over Earth. The seeming austerity of the painting is counterpoised with notions that the sun is occluded by a solar eclipse.

No Ordinary Sun
Ralph Hotere
Production date
enamel on board
1560 x 1180 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Dame Jenny Gibbs in memory of Ralph Hotere, 2013
Accession no
Other ID
9402 Reference number (external institution)
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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