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Wakatipua

Original painting Sold, oil on canvas, 1200 x 1800mm, 2007

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

"Wakatipua" was inspired by Sofia's respect for the land, myths and history of Aotearoa (New Zealand). The soft, russet-coloured clouds caress Lake Wakatipu and its surrounding mountains. An enchanted, primordial world has subtly taken form on the canvas. It reveals water, land, sky and birdlife bathing in the fiery glow of creation.

A number of Maori legends have been passed down through the generations to explain the origins of Lake Wakatipu. One such story tells of the labours of chief Te Raikaihaitu, pioneer explorer of the interior of the South Island. He is said to have brought with him from his former home in the tropics a ko (long wooden spade), and with this he dug the inland lakes. Wakatipu was the most difficult to dig because of its great depth, its rocky surroundings, and its high mountains. It took the utmost effort of the spade combined with many karakia (invocations) to excavate the bed of the lake.

The title of this painting comes from a different legend however. Wakatipu has an unusual rise and fall in water level, about 12 cm every five minutes. Scientifically, this is due to variations in atmospheric pressure caused by the mountains, which rise hastily from the shore of the glacier lake. An old Maori myth explains this strange, rhythmic oscillation as the effect of a monster's slow, steady heartbeat from the depths. According to folklore, Lake Wakatipu was formed when this evil giant was set on fire by a daring youth. The resulting heat melted the snow and ice of surrounding mountains, which then filled the long double-dogleg hollow. The name should theoretically be "Waka-tipua", which translates as "hollow of the giant".

Huia birds (a now extinct native species) perch on a branch in the foreground. The artist imagines that they have witnessed the creation of Waka-tipua and now find themselves in a land 'out of time'. Together they experience a divine world, embraced by the spirit of Ranginui (sky father) and Papatuanuku (earth mother). A distant Pouakai Eagle (also an extinct species with an impressive wingspan of three metres) soars into view. These unique, majestic birds act as guardians of the history and wairua (spirit) of Wakatipua.

Limited Edition Print

Limited edition of 75 signed prints available on matte paper of museum archival quality called hahnemuhle photo rag 308gsm. Image size is 550mm on its longest side 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