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Cherished leading Māori clay artist Manos Nathan passes away

3 Sep 2015

This content is tagged as Multi-Artform .


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Kua hinga tetahi o ngā ringa Toi uku o Ngāpuhi. E te roimata e taheke i runga. Kōmaru ana aku roimata. He wairua pō kia tangi au. He puna anō rā te utuhia i te roa ko te tau. Ko tō aroha rā, ko tō tinana te whakarehunga iho, kua rere atu rā koe ki te kāhui rangatira e tatari mai i runga i o maunga, kia kakengia e koe tō waka whakarei ki Te Reinga, ki reira tutaki ai ki a Hineahuone, Hinetaapeka, kia Hineukurangi, ki te tini me te mano. Haere haere moe mai ra e Koro.

Creative New Zealand is saddened to hear of the loss of Manos Nathan (Te Roroa, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whatua).

Born in Rawene, Hokianga, Matua Manos was a pioneer in Māori ceramic arts and has been one of our leading clay artists for many years.

Matua Manos was the co-founder of Ngā Kaihanga Uku, the national Māori clayworkers’ organization. He is also a member of Te Atinga, the Visual Arts Committee at Toi Maori Aotearoa.

Many of his recent works combine the exquisite lines of his mother’s Greek culture and his father’s Māori culture. His background is in woodcarving and sculpture. He carved the meeting house at Matatina Marae, Waipoua Forest, on his tribal lands.

He once said of his work: “In my efforts to create an identity for works in clay, I have adapted design and symbolism from the customary art forms of wood, stone and bone carving; from tā moko and from the fibre arts of tāniko and tukutuku. I have also drawn on the rich heritage of allegory and metaphor found in pakiwaitara, pūrakau and pepeha (folklore, myths/legends and proverbs) as a source of inspiration for the creation of Māori clayworks.”

His work has been exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally.

New Zealand exhibitions in which his work has been shown include Taiawhio – continuity and change in 2002 and Ngā Toko Rima: contemporary clayworks in 2003/04 at Te Papa.

Overseas, he was represented in the Te Waka Toi exhibition that toured the USA in 1992/94. His work was exhibited in Fusion: Tradition & Discovery in 1999 and in Kiwa – Pacific Connections in 2003 at the Spirit Wrestler Gallery in Vancouver, Canada.

Matua Manos has participated in and promoted cultural exchange programmes with First Nations peoples from America and the Pacific. He was also a driving force behind Toi Maori: Art from the Māori People of New Zealand that saw over 20,000 visitors flock to San Francisco to experience the art and culture of Aotearoas first people.

Many of his works are held in national and international collections, such as the British Museum; the National Museum of Scotland; the Museum fur Volkerkunder, Berlin; and Te Papa Tongarewa, the National Museum of New Zealand.

Manos Nathan will be sorely missed. We send our condolences to Matua Manos’ whānau, loved ones and colleagues.

Nā reira moe mai ra e rangatira.

View a gallery of Manos Nathan's work