Auckland artist Alvin Pankhurst is a past winner of the prestigious Benson and Hedges national art award, and in 2019 led the New Zealand contingent to the Beijing Biennale. His stunning original artworks are held in collections around the world. Saligia Art Gallery is the only place other than Pankhurst's own long-standing Parnell gallery to hold his work for sale. He has made a range of stunning giclee' prints on canvas available to us. Many of his current works feature scenes of ancient Maori carvings in New Zealand beach and forest scenes - all created with full consultation and the blessing of the appropriate iwi.
The war canoe (waka) was the most prized possession of Maori, and the flying stance of the figure on the waka was inspired by the kotuku bird (white heron) which is the most sacred bird in Maoridom. Having been submerged for centuries, the waka is depicted having emerged in Lake Wanaka. This very early 1800s canoe prow represents the separation of the Earth Mother ‘Papa’ from the Sky Father ‘Rangi’. The spirals on the war waka represent light and knowledge coming into the world.
... has Marakihau (one of the Taniwha guardians of the great Maori fleet of waka which left 'Hawaiki' for the new land of Aotearoa). These guardian taniwha kept the Maori safe on their journey. Tiki was the great Maori warrior guardian of Ngati Whakaue, Rotorua.
The master carver Te Umanui carved Tiki in the early 1800s with pounamu and other stone tools. Tiki's spirit can appear anywhere in New Zealand - in this case, beach forest near the Fox River, signifying a transition between two worlds.
ARE WE THERE YET?
Early European settlers brought everything with them ... in this work, the mantlepiece represents the heart of the home, encapsulating the hopes and dreams of the migrants. During the migration rush of the mid 1800s there were some 150 shipwrecks, though with little loss of life - for many a soggy end to a long and hard journey.
This beautifully rendered floral still life has a tapestry-like feel and appearance, pain-stakingly applied across the entire background. Of the work, Alvin says: "My mother loved flowers, and 'I Remember' was painted for her.