Lester Hall- Tiki Mouse

The Little River Gallery artist profile says this about New Zealand print maker:

“From the popular Kiwiana beauty of “Wahine” to the dour victorian morbidity of “Boogieman” Ngati Pakeha Inks have been “a wonderful journey into what it might mean to be Pakeha” says Lester Hall. Describing himself a long time outsider artist who also positions himself as a social commentator on the evolving identity of Aotearoa.  Lester uses his Ngati Pakeha prints to invite all New Zealanders to come with him into this discussion.”

Lester Hall, Northland based artist tests cultural climate with his latest work Tiki Mouse by blatantly merging Mickey Mouse with one of New Zealand’s most touted cultural icon – Heitiki. Hall’s 2004 Ngati Pakeha series of 23 Tiki, launched a cross pollination Buzzy Bee and Tiki to create Halls kiwiana classic Buzzy Bee Tiki.

Print maker Lester Hall is one of New Zealand’s most exciting contemporary visual artists. Hall’s work is visually striking, intelligent, and strongly political. Maori commentator, Willie Jackson states, “he is a cultural intellectual for NZ”. Hall has a clear message that radiates strongly from his Ngati Pakeha Inks series. (read more and see picture of the image here)

You can read another interesting story about one of his pieces here- Toi moko art print upsets

Ralph Hotere protest piece sells for $183,000

Vive Aramoana_Ralph Hotere

International Art Centre director Richard Thomson with Ralph Hotere’s painting Vive Aramoana. Photo: Jason Oxenham/Fairfax NZ

When I came across this article online, I thought it was great. It just goes to show that visual art like this has a lasting voice and presence. It will still speak for generations.

“A Ralph Hotere [Hone Papita Raukura “Ralph” Hotere] artwork depicting the fight to stop an aluminium smelter being built at Aramoana sold for $183,000 at an auction in Auckland in November 2012.

The work, Vive Aramoana, was part of an 11-piece collection that once hung in the historic Carey’s Bay Hotel, in Port Chalmers, and was sold by the International Art Centre in Parnell.”

“The artist painted Vive Aramoana in the early 1980s as part of the protest movement to stop an aluminium smelter being built at the entrance to Otago Harbour.”

He also produced the series protesting against a controversial rugby tour by New Zealand of apartheid-era South Africa (Black Union Jack) in 1981, and the sinking of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior (Black rainbow) in 1985. More recently, his reactions to Middle-East politics have resulted in works such as Jerusalem, Jerusalem and This might be a double cross jack. (Sourced from Wikipedia)

Don Binney

Sadly on 14th September 2012, this well-known New Zealand artist passed away.

He had a special connection with the land & was able to depict this beautifully in his work.

The Diversion Gallery wrote this about Binney:

Don Binney needs little introduction to art lovers – or the New Zealand public – so distinctive are his iconic paintings and drawings of birds and landforms. In a career spanning more than 40 years, his commitment to ornithology, environmental issues and spiritual connection with the land has driven his art practice. (sourced from here)

And these pieces are from a story on Stuff.co.nz that was written remembering the artists life after he had passed away.

“Judy Hanbury said Binney’s love of the environment was rooted in his boyhood. He saw his first shining cuckoo in Kohimarama and never lost the joy of hearing the first one of spring.

That love would feed into his conservation efforts that saw him engage with many trusts dedicated to protecting New Zealand’s flora and fauna.” (Source: Stuff)

View some of his paintings here.

Bill Hammond

Bill Hammond is one of my personal favourite New Zealand artists.

And continuing to a simliar thread as the last post, some of Hammonds work also comments on human interaction with the birds & environment of this land.

One of the common themes in his paintings are the half animal/human creatures with avian heads and human limbs. They have quite an Egyptian look to them.

One website biography on Hammond said this:

‘Hammond’s work tackles social and environmental issues, conveying messages about humanity and its status as an endangered species.’ (source: Biography)

Endangerment: he looked back into New Zealand’s environmental history for his subject matter, drawing inspiration from the studies of Sir Walter Buller. The Buller paintings show us some of the ways in which birds have been forced to relate to us.

Birdlife: These works came about after Hammond returned from a trip to the remote Auckland Islands, where there are no people and birds still rule. (source: wikipedia)

(Photo: drift.net.nz )