Urban Māori - immigrants at home
1973, Kahukiwa, Robyn (1938– ), New Zealand. Purchased 2003. Te Papa
The immigrants features a Maori family who have moved to the city. Through the window of the small one-room space, figures stand on receding lines against distant hills.
The painting explores the alienation of urban Maori from each other and their iwi (tribal) base. Mother and child are in the foreground, reflecting Kahukiwa's belief in mana wahine – the centrality of women in Maori life.
Kahukiwa (born 1938, Ngati Porou, Te Aitanga-a-Hauiti, Ngati Konohi, Te Whanau-a-Ruataupare) began painting as a young housewife and mother in the 1960s. Born in Australia, she connected with her Maori heritage after moving here as a young woman. Her paintings often explore issues of Maori identity.
Read more about urban Maori