The body of the chief has a design representing diving split-eagles, being met beak to beak by a Maori bird form in the base. I have included a spirit human form dwelling between or within the two eagle bodies. The transformational forms between eagle and human are clan and chief references to merge with the jade head of the chief.
This sculpture with a pounamu (jade) head takes on the persona of a chief. The human head is a symbol of mana (prestige) which is regarded as one of the most tapu (sacred) parts of the body. The design at the base is a bird-like manaia spirit form linking the underworld to Preston’s eagle from the world above. The designs are about the passing of the birth right of Ariki (chief) to the next generation.
Collaboration for the Fire & Water: Pacific Visions in Glass and Jade exhibition, 2007.
Collaborations between great artists are historically rare, despite frequent attempts and enthusiastic interest to bring technical skills and artistic chemistry together. In the end, it often seems that personal careers, distance, and other issues make these projects too difficult to realize. What makes this particular collaboration even more remarkable is that the two artists are geographically in different hemispheres — almost at polar opposites of the world.
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