Darryn George

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1970
Ngāpuhi, Māori

Atua (Psalm 130)

  • Purchased 2017
  • Oil on canvas
  • 1948 x 1948mm
  • 2017/039
  • 2012

Darryn George is part of the generation of young urban Māori artists that came to prominence during the 1990s and sought to bring a Māori world view into their art by way of making themselves available to wānanga (meet to consider and discuss) and hui (gatherings). It was during an intimate conversation with kaumātua (elder) Hone Te Mau at Whāngārā Marae that George was introduced to the ways he might engage with the art he saw within the wharenui (meeting house) as a Christian artist. “It gave me the freedom to go back into that meeting house and start to see things that I could pull into my own work as a gift from the ancestors ”Te reo Māori is a highly complex language and words can have many different meanings depending on context. Atua is a noun meaning God, and also ancestor with continuing influence. This painting, Atua (Psalm 130), expands upon George’s experience at Whāngārā Marae; George uses hard-edged forms, colours and text to explore cultural and spiritual values that are Māori and deeply personal.

(Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania, 2021)