Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1931, d.2013
Te Aupōuri, Muriwhenua, Māori
Drawing (Ko Wai Koe?)
- Lacquer, ink and pencil on paper
- Purchased 1978
- Reproduced by permission of the Hotere Foundation Trust
- 762 x 560mm
Location: Touring Gallery C
Tags: Maori (culture or style), black (color), monochrome, text (layout feature), words
Ko Wai Koe? Ralph Hotere asks ‘who are you?’ in large stencilled letters at the bottom of this drawing. The artist has also inscribed the top and side of the drawing with Tenei taku manu te rere atu nei – he karere – no Te whitinga mai o te ra. Pataia mai – i ahu mai koe i hea? (This is my bird that flies to you – a messenger from where the sun rises. It asks from where have you come?) Dense ink and lacquer saturate the work like black raindrops, soaking through the paper and providing an impenetrable surface over which Hotere has worked; his intense graphite mark-making has a subtle reflective quality depending on the light. Hotere has embraced the use of diecuts, such as the small square void amongst graphite marks that allows the surface beneath to emerge. (Die Cuts and Derivations, 11 March – 2 July 2023)
Ralph Hotere has overlaid the black raindrop-like surface of this work with reflective graphite marks and poetic text asking subtle questions of identity. In Maori it is inscribed: Tenei taku manu te rere atu nei – he karere – no Te whitinga mai o te ra. Pataia mai – i ahu mai koe i hea? KO WAI KOE. (This is my bird that flies to you – a messenger from where the sun rises. It asks from where have you come? WHO ARE YOU?)
This work took first place in the Christchurch Arts Festival International Exhibition of Drawings in 1978, from 193 entries worldwide.
Hotere was born in Taikarawa, Northland, and was widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s greatest living artists. He is represented in public and private collections throughout New Zealand.