Rongomaiaia Te Whaiti
Rongomaiaia Te Whaiti (Ngati Kahungunu Ki Wairarapa and Ngai Tahu) completed an undergraduate and master’s degree in Maori Visual Arts at Te Putahi a Toi, Massey University, Palmerston North, under the tutelage of Ngataiharuru Taepa, Israel Tangaroa Birch, Rachael Rakena, Kura Te Waru-Rewiri and Robert Jahnke. She lives in Palmerston North with her husband and three young children.
Te Whaiti’s paintings are inspired by narratives from her home, the Wairarapa. Cape Palliser, her ancestral home is on the coastal landscape of the Wairarapa at the southern-most tip of the north Island of Aotearoa. Scale and perspective, space and time, the hidden and the revealed are all aspects the artist plays with to narrate her own stories with authority and rangatiratanga (sovereignty) across the canvas. Her paintings carry a depth and richness to them; something she says is a consequence of the ideas and thoughts that she chooses to explore through the process of painting. Te Whaiti’s most recent body of work, Toku pepeha (2016), explores the notion of identity, power, control and privilege by re-contextualising naturalistic imagery from her Maori and Pakeha whakapapa (heritage) and reframing them on a coastal landscape. Te Whaiti exhibits regularly with Toi o Tahuna Gallery, Queenstown, and was recently represented by Toi o Tahuna at the Auckland Art Fair 2016. She has also been apart of several exhibitions with fellow contemporary Maori artists including, Robert Jahnke, Ngataiharuru Taepa, Israel Birch, Bridget Reweti and Shane Cotton.
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