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Self-Taught & Visionary Art in New Zealand

Theresa Reihana

Whatever else Theresa might be, there are three powerful elements about her that reveal themselves in her work: she is a Māori woman, a mother, and a natural illustrator.

Theresa has a gift for capturing the human form and the body and its subtle gestures, with an economy of line and economy of paint. This economy of technique came about through necessity; if you have limited resources and limited time and energy (Theresa has 6 young children) then you find a way to get things done economically. Theresa has found a technique that depends upon the essentialisaton of forms and the speedy application of (house) paint. Of course this technique also depends upon a great ability to draw well. This economy gives the work a comic art feel—the black outlines around forms, the reduced details, the tightly designed compositions, and the bold colours, all contribute to the clear communication of feeling to which good comic art aspires.

Her most comfortable subject matter seems to be motherhood, understandably, because it is a subject she knows well. But this is motherhood in the larger sense, the continuation of lineage, the woman’s body as a point that bears the link between past and future. References to a tribal past and to a spiritual continuum with that past is a current that runs naturally through the images that Theresa produces.

For more information on this artist see: Theresa Reihana: Contemporary Māori Artist


Selected Works

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Showing all 2 works.