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Ko Ngā Tipuna Kei Mua Ko Tatou Kei Muri, 1996 he toi kaitā, he toi whai tikanga ā-apaapa maha ā, koia tētahi tauākī toi ataata whai mana e whakaemi ai i ngā āhuatanga motuhake o te mahi toi a Robyn Kahukiwa i ēnei tau 40. He peita tēnei e kōrero ai i te hītori o te iwi Māori – atu i te tātai tuarangi ki te orokohanga, atu i te whenua ki te koroniaratanga – ko tēnei te peita a te ringa toi, he hanganga ā-kānawehi kaitā rawa atu.
Pērā i ō te whare whakairo, kei te rāpoi katoa ngā waitohu, ngā āhua, ngā tae, ngā tuone ā-peita ki te puaki i ngā kōrero e noho nei i roto i te whakapapa me te ao Māori. Ko ngā atua, ko ō rātou mātua a Ranginui rāua ko Papatūānuku, ngā tūtei a runga ake i te peita. Kei raro iho ko Te Rā rāua ko Te Marama e whakaatu ana i te pūtake e huri haere ai te tauoranga katoa. Kei roto i tētahi puna kikorangi muramura ko Māui tērā e tū ana ki runga i Te Waka-a-Māui kei te taha mātau; ā, kei tōna taha a Paikea, te tohorā i kawe mai ai i ngā tūpuna o Kahukiwa ki Aotearoa. Ko tā ngā āhua e rua he nui tūturu, e whakakākahutia ana ki ngā pūeru o te wā o Wikitoria, e tīpakohia mai i te Survivor Series, 1991 a Kahukiwa, me ngā āhua kitakita kei te taha mātau, he whakaatu i te pēhitanga i te Māori i raro i te koroniaratanga. Kei te pūtahi o ēnei aho o te wā me te wāhi, ko Hinetītama – he māia, he kaha, he atua e whakaputa ai i te oranga tonutanga i a ia e whakawhānau ai i Te Iwi Māori – i te tangata. Ko te peita a Kahukiwa he kōrero pūkare, he kōrero hōkai mō te whānautanga me te matenga, mō te mārama me te pō, mō te aumangea me te kukuwhatanga, kei roto i te whakapapa o te tangata whenua.
Monumental and multi-layered in meaning, Ngā Tipuna Kei Mua Ko Tatou Kei Muri, 1996 is a resoundingly powerful and comprehensive visual statement bringing together elements of Robyn Kahukiwa’s art practice forged over 40 years. It is a history painting in that it tells the story of Māori people – from the cosmos to creation, from the land to colonisation – and it is the single largest canvas painting of the aritst’s career to date.
Like a wharewhakairo (carved meeting house), the painting’s various motifs, figures, colours and painted gestures congregate to tell stories embedded in whakapapa (genealogy) and te ao Māori (the Māori worldview). Ngā atua (the gods) and their mātua (parents), Ranginui (sky father) and Papatūānuku (earth mother), guard the top of the painting. Below, Te Ra (sun) and Te Marama (moon) indicate the cycles around which all life revolves. Floating in a vibrant pool of blue, Maui fishes up Te Ika-a-Maui (the North Island) while standing in Te Waka-a-Maui (canoe of Maui) to the right, adjacent to which is Paikea, the whale on which Kahukiwa’s ancestors came to Aotearoa New Zealand. Two life-sized figures in Victorian dress, transplanted from Kahukiwa’s Survivor Series, 1991, and miniature figures on the right represent the oppression of Māori through colonialism. At the centre of all these strands of time and place is Hinetītama (dawn maiden) – steadfast, strong, and emanating life as she gives birth to Nga Iwi Māori – humankind. Kahukiwa’s painting is a visceral and immersive storytelling of the birth and death, light and dark, resilience and evolution in the whakapapa of tangata whenua (people of the land).
- Ngā Tipuna Kei Mua Ko Tatou Kei Muri
- Production date
- oil on canvas
- 2200 x 6000 mm
- Credit line
- Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2018
- Accession no
- Copying restrictions apply
- New Zealand Art
- Display status
- On display
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