Shane Cotton

Picture Painting

Picture Painting by Shane Cotton

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Picture Painting is a hybrid of Māori and Pākehā images; a fusion of European and Māori imagery, it is a painting which brings together two different pictures. The pot derives from Rongopai, the 1887 wharenui or meeting-house near Gisborne, which contains important figurative and naturalistic paintings; the plant from a painting by Gordon Walters influenced by Paul Klee. In 1993, when Shane Cotton took up a lectureship in traditional and contemporary Māori art at Massey University's Māori Studies Department, he began studying early Māori figurative painting and was impressed both by the images and 'the weight of what they were saying'. ' . . . the pot and plant image features frequently throughout [meeting-] houses on the East Coast. Given that this image began to appear during times of land confiscation . . . there is no doubt about its political significance as a statement of land ownership, and the reaffirmation of a hapu's connection to their area . . . The images deal with aspects of acculturation, appropriation, identity and history intertwined with narrative and myth'. Cotton sees his work drawing attention to a Māori art form which had previously received little recognition. Gregory O'Brien noted in Shane Cotton's work ' . . . an imaginative commentary on Empire and the process of colonisation, sifting through the iconography, as well as the junk, of English colonialism and filtering them through a Māori perspective'. (from The Guide, 2001)

Picture Painting
Production date
oil on canvas
1833 x 1522 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 1994
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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