400 light years from Earth, in the constellation Taurus, a cluster of stars named by the ancient Greeks as the Pleiades, appear annually in the Southern hemisphere sky at the end of autumn, around May or June.
To the Māori the appearance of the Pleiades in the dawn sky in the northeastern horizon was the most important event of the year and cause for great celebration.
At full moon after its sighting the old year ended and Māori New Year ceremonies, lamentations and celebrations began.
Hundreds of stars exist in the constellation, however, only six; sometimes seven are visible to the naked human eye.
The Greeks personified these seven stars as seven sisters and it is of interest to note that our Māori ancestors also considered the stars feminine. They gave the cluster the name Matariki (tiny eyes) and believed they were mother and her six daughters.
The presence of Matariki initiated numerous ceremonies and rituals including forecasting the future year. Weather and food resources including hunting, fishing, and planting were all predicted with reference to Matariki.
The concept of my sculpture is drawn from the belief of the Māori mother and six daughters. The main body represents the mother while emerging from her hair are her six daughters.
Featured in the book Te Kahui o Matariki (Contemporary Māori Art of Matariki).
Te Rarawa, Ngāti Paoa, Te Ātiawa
Rex Homan was born 1940 in Thames, New Zealand of Māori, Irish and Scottish ancestry. He lived in Auckland in his early years before moving to the Bay of Plenty. Rex has earned international recognition as a wood sculptor in the 1960s and 1970s and began working in bronze in the 1980s. His current work is influenced by the culture of the Pacific and displays uniqueness in its diversity of form and dramatic flow of lines. Rex has exhibited in solo, group and jury shows. He has won several national awards for “National Wood Skills” and is represented in corporate and private collections worldwide.
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