Ralph Hotere

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1931, d.2013

Dawn/Water Poem

  • Purchased with assistance from the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council, 1986
  • Reproduced by permission of the Hotere Foundation Trust
  • Acrylic on canvas
  • 2400 x 1805mm
  • 86/50
  • 1986

For the exhibition Untitled #1050 (25 November 2017 – 14 October 2018) this work was displayed with the following label:

“There are very few things I can say about my work, that are better than saying nothing.”

—Ralph Hotere, undated

earlier labels about this work
  • Dawn/Water Poem brings together the work of two of New Zealand’s pre-eminent artists - painter Ralph Hotere and poet Bill Manhire. It was made at a time of strong protest against the French nuclear testing programme carried out on the Pacific atoll of Mururoa during the 1980s. Hotere has taken Manhire’s poem of the same name and transformed it into a visual experience. The collaboration has produced a pointedly beautiful political statement. In nautical terms, an ‘x’ means ‘keep away’. To Manhire’s repeated word ‘sunrise’ Hotere has added ‘Mururoa’, using a vivid red to suggest apocalypse, anger and sacrifice. Hotere was born in the far north of New Zealand. He first studied art in Dunedin but in 1961 won a scholarship to study at the Central School of Art in London. He has subsequently won many awards. Since the 1970s he has lived at Port Chalmers, Dunedin. Political and social issues feature strongly in Hotere’s work. (Opening Gallery hang, May 2003)