Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Pacific Crossover


The theme reflects the spirit of the gathering and the interaction of native Pacific Rim artists linked with the Puget Salish legend of “The Return to the Swing.” The many artists from many countries met at the Evergreen College in Olympia, Washington, USA, and the longhouse became a forum to exchange ideas and celebrate shared and cross-cultural experiences.

The central boxed area is the boundaries of cultural tradition. The symbols and images of birds show the moving out and beyond tradition. Pitau and koru designs float loosely within the composition. The feather design denotes important rank.

The figures represent the people who returned to the swing. They swing within the Pacific Crossover on the cedar limb ropes. The chevron/triangular weaving pattern reflects a shared cultural blanket of warmth that wraps all native peoples together. The star cluster is a reference to the star worlds, which is shared by the Māori in the legend of sky father and earth mother. This involves Ranginui—sky fatherland and the swinging root of a tree that mortals used to gain knowledge from the upper world.

The colours used in this painting reflect the earth with the tones of brown, black and gray and the blue of the sky within the corridor of time.

Sandy Adsett

Sandy Adsett


Ngāti Kahungunu

(1939- )

Sandy attended Te Aute Boys College in Hawkes Bay and received his formal art training at Ardmore and Dunedin teachers colleges. He became an arts specialist for the Department of Education’s Advisory Service in the 1960s, helping introduce the new “Māori Arts in Schools” program. In 1993, he was appointed principal tutor at Tairawhiti Polytechnic in Gisborne, formatting a wananga (place of learning) arts direction for Toihoukura School of Māori Visual Arts.