Ralph Hotere

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1931, d.2013
Te Aupōuri, Muriwhenua, Māori


  • 1973
  • lacquer on board
  • Gift of Andrew and Jenny Smith, 2021
  • 810 x 1185mm
  • 2021/014

Writer Kriselle Baker has suggested that Ralph Hotere’s Requiem paintings sit somewhere between the Catholic mass for the departed and the waiata tangi with which Māori mourn the dead. The suicide of Hotere’s friend, the composer Anthony Watson, in May 1973, followed the death of the artist’s mother, Ana Maria Hotere, the previous year. The works Hotere made soon afterwards convey an enveloping darkness, relieved only by fine bands of intense colour. Some are spaced in precise lines that suggest musical chords, or shafts of breaking dawn light. Others are swept into curving forms that rise like birds in flight, an image associated in many cultures with the departure of the soul

(Absence, May 2023)

Exhibition History