acrylic on panel
2415 x 3630 mm
Chartwell Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2015
05 May 2015
New Zealand Art
Ara mai ai te koromamao ki runga ake i ngā mānia tukutuku, e tohu ai i ngā papanga hōhonu i roto i a Papatūānuku. Ko te taiao ahi kōmau o Whakaari i Te Moana-a-Toitehuatahi, kei te pūtake o tēnei peita whakaahua whakameremere, e whakaatu ai i te whenua ānō nei he tangata ora. Ko Whakaari tērā e karapotia ana e te moana nui whakaharahara, he taonga kārohirohi ia, he puhanga puia i te korowai o Tangaroa Atua. Maumaharatia ai e ngā kōrero nehe, whakaahuatia ai tōna āhua e tōna ingoa, a Te Puia Whakaari. I roto i te pikitia a Buck Nin, kua whai oranga, kua whai rangatiratanga. E ai ki tētahi anō ringa toi, a Darcy Nicholas, he kārangaranga hōhonu i te mahi a Buck Nin:
He hokinga mahara tēnei ki ngā mahi-ā-ringa Māori, arā ki te whakairo, te raranga, te kōwhaiwhai, e mahora ana i runga i te taiao koraha, pērā i te korowai tapu āhuru e awhi ana, e haumirimiri ana i te whenua. Ko tōna Papatūānuku tēnei.
Ko Whakaari te puia oho kaha rawa o Aotearoa nei, ā, kātahi anō ka kitea ōna kaha i te 9 o Hakihea 2019, i te matenga o ngā tāngata 22 i tōna hūnga. Ka kitea te peita a Nin, ka maumaraharatia te rangatiratanga o Te Moana-a-Toitehuatahi, me te mana ahurei o Tangaroa i te moana e noho nei a Whakaari.
Steam rises above a sliding network of lacelike plains which recall strata deep beneath the ground. The volcanic environment of Whakaari/White Island, in the Bay of Plenty, is the inspiration for this dramatic and rich landscape painting in which the earth appears alive. Surrounded by vast ocean, Whakaari shimmers and plumes like a gem on the cloak of Tangaroa – the god of the sea. Recalled in many tribal traditions, its full name is Te Puia Whakaari, meaning The Dramatic Volcano. In this depiction it is alive and majestic. Fellow artist Darcy Nicholas sees deep resonances in Nin’s work:
The imagery is drawn from Māori carving, weaving and rafter patterns, spread across a minimalist landscape like a sacred cloak, warming, embracing and caressing the earth. This is his Māori earth Papatūanuku.
Whakaari is New Zealand’s most active volcano. We were reminded of this by the eruption on 9 December 2019 which claimed the lives of 22 people. Nin’s painting continues to show us the significance of this Bay of Plenty landmark and Tangaora’s sea domain, where Whakaari/White Island rises.