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Kaitiaki - Portrait

Original painting Sold, oil on canvas,
1050 x 788mm, 2017

Limited edition print available - scroll down and click 'add to cart'

Kaitiaki is a two-piece work - a portrait and forest landscape - that inform each other when sitting side-by-side. Sofia took three years to complete these oil paintings.

Minson thinks of the old man with his deep wrinkles as Tāne, god of the forest and progenitor of mankind, son of Ranginui (sky father) and Papatūānuku (earth mother). His presence is that of Kaitiaki or Guardian of the natural world. Legend has it that long ago Tāne separated his parents’ tight embrace to allow Te Ao Mārama, a world of space and light to enter, and trees and birds and every living thing including humans, to flourish.

His face came into being from the artist's imagination, inspired by tupuna (ancestors) in C.F. Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer portraits as well as black and white 20th century photographs of Maori. There is a sense of re-creating a centuries-old romanticism and depth, which is a welcomed change in this modern, digital, face-paced world.

He wears Tā Moko Kanohi (full face tattoo) deeply carved into his skin - an indelible link to his whakapapa (genealogy) going back to Ranginui, Papatūānuku and to the instant of creation.

We humans are kaitiaki - guardians and stewards of the natural world. It’s not about ownership over land and exclusivity of these people over those people, but a realization of abundance, which breeds harmony. The kinship we have with the natural world can be expressed by managing our environment wisely. Today there is growing interest in kaitiakitanga as iwi (tribes) restore their environment and their culture.

Tane's mother is kept close in the form of the carved taonga he holds, and his father of the skies is indicated in the tapu (sacred) white-tipped huia feather in his hair and the mist caressing the earth.

"The forest is a living thing just as I breathe and live.
Every leaf, every tree, every, insect, every bird, feels and knows this.
When I enter its domain, I know I enter the House Of Tāne.
My ancestor who created us all and each one of us.
A face of Io-of-the-Many-Faces."
- From Māori natural lore

Limited Edition Print

Limited edition of 95 signed prints available on matte paper of museum archival quality called hahnemuhle photo rag 308gsm. Image size is 740mm high x 552mm wide surrounded by an unprinted white border.  Shipping is FREE within NZ and $35 everywhere else (prices are NZD).  Unframed print arrives sealed in protective tube or sleeve.

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Sofia Minson Oil Paintings | New Zealand Artwork