Warriors and Chiefs, Canoes and Creatures: Paintings on Iconic Maori Carvings by Alvin Pankhurst

On Art and Aesthetics

I’m glad I discovered the work of Alvin Pankhurst (born 1949), a New Zealand realist-surrealist painter with two successful galleries, in Parnell (Auckland) and Pauanui (the Coromandel). Alvin, who studied at the Wellington Polytechnic School of Graphic Design, is an internationally recognised leader in Maori subjects. His early paintings showed the passing of time with roots growing from wild roses, in Victorian interiors. Now the art he makes is steeped in legends and history, presenting Maori artifacts across stunning seashores and lakes.

Alvin writes: “I grew up around the Wairau pa along the banks of the Wairau river, 10 km north of Blenheim. I loved carving as a kid but the spirituality that the Maori master carvers were able to achieve makes your hair stand on end. We can’t ever let the Maori culture and history be lost, so all I can do is try to paint how I feel about the beauty and importance of…

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