This work is a creative interpretation of one of the Māori mythologies about “Matariki” (a constellation of stars that appears in mid-June that heralds the Māori New Year). It investigates notions about the use of Ngai Tahu imagery in relation to such cultural stories and whakapapa (genealogy). This piece depicts Matariki as the mother and her six daughters, Tupu-a-nuku, Tupu-a-Rangi, Waita, Waipuna-a-Rangi and Ururangi — and continues the artist’s creative development of imagery with specific reference to Māori rock drawings of the South Island. In this instance the tiki (human figure) motif is the main subject of this circular composition. The artistic metaphor uses female characters as the integral structure sustaining the sun and universe.
Ross was born in Kurow, in New Zealand’s South Island. He earned a Diploma of Fine and Applied Arts from Otago Polytechnic in 1972 and had his first exhibition in 1975. In 1983, he became head of visual arts at Waiariki Polytechnic, Rotorua, and more recently he was named head of the Department of Art and Design Studies at the School of Design at Massey University in Wellington. In 1987, he received a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand/Air New Zealand Travel Award with which to study fine arts in the United States.
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