Last academic year, our Year 9 students created works based on New Zealand artist, Vanessa Wairata Edwards. Vanessa is of both Māori and European descent and explores her heritage through printmaking. Vanessa speaks both Te Reo and English. She has a Masters in Fine Art specialising in Printmaking and teaches Art at Rangitikei College in New Zealand.
The students looked at Vanessa’s imagery and artmaking process, taking images of New Zealand birds and combining them with Māori patterns (kowhaiwhai) into an etching. They then printed the etchings and screen printed more kowhaiwhai patterns overtop. We are excited to now have these works on display at school and our Art teachers, Mrs Hildreth and Mrs McGuigan are extremely proud of the students for the work they put into them.
The work was shared with the artist and is now hanging in the MTB foyer. Vanessa commented: “I was blown away by the work that Mrs Hildreth sent to me. The birds are so well done. It feels great to inspire such beautiful and effective work. I am so very impressed. Thanks for making my day.”
Why birds? Birds had a vital place in traditional Māori life, providing food, and feathers for adornment and cloaks. Birds’ behaviour was used to predict the weather, and sometimes the future. Their habits were closely observed and were a rich source of metaphor and poetry.