Monday, May 31, 2010

Weaving, Painting, Carving and Architecture
By Julie Paama-Pengelly

New Holland - NZ$39.99

‘Māori Art and Design
’ is apparently the first book to present a comprehensive art language for Māori visual culture. It traces the evolution of historic Māori art and design, across the full range of disciplines: weaving, painting, carving and architecture. Julie Paama-Pengelly has produced a valuable resource to interpret historic Maori art, now being recognised as a dynamic and credible mainstream visual culture, integral to both New Zealand and the international art scene.
In ‘Māori Art and Design,’ eminent Māori author, Julie Paama-Pengelly, writes about the importance of seeing this art and design through a Māori cultural heritage, rather than a Western viewpoint. According to Julie, ‘Māori did not separate art from other aspects of culture; art was central to all activities and all objects.’ 

Māori used art and design to communicate ideas, knowledge and values. For example, the patterns on a carved prow of a war canoe imbued the object with greater significance. The Mataora tradition of the art of tā moko (or tattooing) was to affirm a whakapapa or genealogical link between the Māori and their gods, as well as telling stories of origin.

Through clear illustrations, contemporary and historic photographs and charts, the book interprets the cultural and spiritual meanings in Māori art. Readers can identify common motifs that distinguish these designs, such as koru, tiki and mokomoko.

I am sure this profusely and beautifully illustrated and accessible new book will quickly become a significant resource and is certain to be used for years to come, allowing art lovers and students to reference contemporary Maori art and design. 

Chapters focus on four major disciplines:
• Weaving: includes tukutuku, kitemaking, basketry, netting and clothing
• Paintings: includes rock drawing and painting wooden objects
• Architecture: includes villages, storage and meeting houses, burial structures and bone containers.
• Carving: includes stone, bone, wood carving and patterning

Julie Paama-Pengelly is of Ngai Te Rangi (Bay of Plenty) descent and is an artist, writer and educator of contemporary Māori arts. She holds a Masters of Development Studies, a Masters (Honours) in Māori Visual Arts, and is writing her PhD on tā moko through Massey University. Julie lives with her family in Ohope, Bay of Plenty.

Foreword by Professor Robert Jahnke, Chair and Head of Te Pūtahi a Toi at Massey University.

My congratulations to the author and the publishers on a meticulously researched, beautifully illustrated and appealingly presented book, a taonga no less.

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