John Pule

Polynesia migration Aotearoa

Polynesia migration Aotearoa by John Pule

Artwork Detail

As a poet, novelist, painter and printmaker, John Puhiatau Pule has a protean talent which is a remarkable endorsement of what it means to be self-taught. Leaving his Niuean village of Liku with his family when he was a child, and growing up in Ötara and Grey Lynn, Pule has maintained a creative conversation between Niue and New Zealand that addresses his migration from one place to another, exploring the past and the present and using the inspiration of memories and dreams. His heritage is a hybrid: 'I am like many others who are not Päkehä, Mäori, Pacific Islander, artist, writer, poet, but a little bit of them all . . . I exist within a series of differences. Because traditional categories cannot organise my identity, I am nearly everybody's "other".' The Niuean practice of decorating hiapo or barkcloth with freehand drawing is alluded to in the lower panel of Polynesia Migration Aotearoa, where a vertical grid introduces the compass points over it. Pule's art invites oral traditions to shift into innovative areas of language, where his writings evoke pictorial images and his paintings tell stories about cultural identity and the nature of human belonging. Contemporary events combine those of history - and faith, sexuality, nature and symbolism all collide in an instantly recognisable Pacific vision. (from The Guide, 2001)

Polynesia migration Aotearoa
John Pule
Production date
acrylic on unstretched canvas, and barkcloth
3300 x 1965 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased with funds from Reader's Digest New Zealand, 1992
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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