Ralph Hotere

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1931, d.2013

Drawing (Ko Wai Koe?)

  • Purchased 1978
  • Reproduced by permission of the Hotere Foundation Trust
  • Lacquer, ink and pencil on paper
  • 762 x 560mm
  • 78/107
  • 1977

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.