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Taking centre stage at Parnell Gallery in Auckland are 2 large-scale black and white oil paintings of musician Tiki Taane with full-face moko. The portraits by artist Sofia Minson as well as her landscapes with intricately carved waka depicting Maori myths, will be on show at the gallery until 6th December 2011.
The powerful close-up portraits bring clearly to view the connection TIki Taane forges between himself and his whakapapa. The paintings have been works-in-progress for 12 months since Minson photographed Taane in her Auckland art studio, marking the beginning of her painting process.
Minson explains how she and the chart-topping musician came to know each other: "We were in the same issue of Mana Magazine a few years ago and Tiki emailed me to say that he liked my art and perhaps we could think of a way to collaborate together in the future, through album artwork or merchandise for his music. I think of this portrait as a collaboration because the paintings are so full of Tiki's story and his presence, which comes through his Ta Moko and the intensity of his eyes."
Minson's mixed Maori (Ngati Porou), Swedish, English and Irish ancestry has sparked her interest in how we relate to the culture of our ancestors in a contemporary world.
Taane has worn his moko previously as artwork: inspired by C.F. Goldie portraits, he presents himself with full facial moko on the cover of his Past, Present, Future album.
Since his arrested in April 2011 for singing "f*** the police" at a Tauranga nightclub, Minson says "Tiki must have found the media and legal spotlight challenging to deal with but he kept a positive attitude. As a fellow artist I admire his strength coming out with a new song "Freedom To Sing" and a new album "In The World of Light" as he's proving his creativity and inspiration is more powerful than ever.
I feel there is no better time than now to create this portrait. In this painting he proudly wears his moko, an outward sign of his inner growth and resilience."