Spirit Wrestler Gallery (Vancouver, Canada)

Whakapakoko IV • Guardian Figure IV


  • Medium: clay
  • Size: 52 × 16 × 13 inches
  • Reference Code: KX30611

With the Nga Kaitiaki series of works, I am exploring in the ceramic medium, the sculptural potential of the waka ko iwi (funerary chests) which are the unique and potent wood carvings of the northern tribes of Aotearoa. I am inspired and excited by the awesome vitality and authority of this ancient form, created by my ancestors in pre-contact times.

The underlying theme of this body of works is kaitiakitanga (guardianship), a reflection on both its role in the past and its relevance in the present day.

Manos Nathan

Manos Nathan


Te Roroa, Ngāti Whātua, Ngā Puhi


Since the mid-1980s, Manos has been at the forefront of the Māori ceramic movement. He is co-founder of Nga Kaihanga Uku, the national Māori clayworkers’ organization, although his background is in woodcarving and sculpture. (He carved the meeting house at Matatina Marae, Waipoua Forest, on his tribal lands.) His clay works draw on customary art forms and on the Māori cosmological and creation narratives. In 1989, he travelled to the United States on a Fulbright grant to visit Native American potters. A reciprocal visit took place in 1991.