Tania and the Meeting House.

Tania Niwa, oil on canvas, 122 x 92cm

I  wanted to do a painting based on my New Zealand homeland. Something that reminded me of the land, family and culture, who we are and where we've come from. I met Tania several years ago but first knew of her through her amazing photographs. She is a talented photographer winning many international awards. Tania has also chosen to live a life away from New Zealand where she was born but remains strongly connected to her maori culture. I wanted to portray a sense of connection, pride, and longing with her hand on her heart, to a land and culture left behind. Depicted in the painting are her tribal homeland, Mount Taranaki, family marae or meeting house, the spirit of her ancestors, great grandfather and grandmother, the family bone carving and tattoo which are all significant to her cultural roots and all tell their own story. New Zealand can have a moody, dramatic undercurrent that moves right through you so I wanted to keep that intensity in the portrait and painting. 

Tania's work can be seen at www.tanianiwa.com.au