“I carved this mask as a tribute to the First Nations’ Peoples of Canada. It represents the strong bond that we have, not only as similar cultures but as great friends, and the strengthening of those connections throughout the Kiwa exhibition in Vancouver in 2003.
“I learnt many things about the culture, and could see the strong connection the people have with the land and their surroundings. The more culture and customs of the First Nations’ Peoples I experienced, the more similarities I could see between their culture and the Māori culture.
“This was my first trip to Canada, and to witness the many beautiful artworks of the First Nations artists gave me inspiration to do a carving that is my interpretation of two distinctive styles in one, symbolising the melding together of the two art forms and the unification of two peoples. I describe this unification as ‘Strong’. I chose a woman’s face as it is women who bring life to the world, a task crucial to the survival of our cultures.”
Todd attended Te Aute Boys College in Hawkes Bay from 1987 to 1991 and quickly excelled in art. In 1995, he completed the Diploma of Art, Craft and Māori Design at Waiariki Institute of Technology in Rotorua; he majored in woodcarving/sculpture and graduated with honours. It was during this time that he met Roi Toia, who was teaching there. Roi, impressed with his talent, invited Todd to apprentice with him. They continue to work together, but Todd has forged his own style and direction in carving, with commissioned pieces residing in collections in the United States, Canada, Australia and the Netherlands. He participated in Kiwa: Pacific Connections (2003) in Vancouver, Canada.
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