Robyn Kahukiwa

Australia / Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1940
Ngati Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare, Māori

My Ancestors Are Always with Me

  • Purchased 2019
  • Oil, enamel and alkyd on canvas
  • 1215 x 910mm
  • 2019/056
  • 1995

A self-taught artist, Robyn Kahukiwa holds an important place in contemporary Māori art. Although primarily painting for a Māori audience, the universal appeal of her work has made her one of Aotearoa's leading painters, producing powerful works that reflect Māori culture and identity.Behind the central figure outlined in white are two other figures, male and female, with their children between their legs. In traditional Māori carving this composition represents whakapapa (genealogy). Apart from the gold paint – gold being the art historical indicator for the spiritual realm – Kahukiwa has used colours that are traditional in Māori art.

(Te Wheke, 2020)