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Rutu

Rita Angus (1908-70), New Zealand
Rutu
, 1951, oil paint on canvas. Purchased 1992 with New Zealand Lottery Grants Board funds

Multicultural goddess

When Rita Angus painted this self-portrait, she wasn’t interested in what a mirror might reflect, but in what lay behind the face - her cultural and spiritual identity. The artist has become a blonde Polynesian woman, a multicultural goddess surrounded by symbols from a variety of cultures and histories.

The sun frames her head like a halo, a mark of holiness in Christian art. In her hands is a lotus flower, a central motif in Oriental religions, and she wears a fish design - her astrological sign, Pisces, and an early Christian symbol.

Finally, Angus has given herself the name Rutu, or Ruth, a biblical name meaning compassion.

 
Highlights
Click on the images below to find out more

tukutuku

The grey river and mountains

Toss Woollaston
The Grey River and mountains

Untitled

Theo Schoon
Untitled

Rutu

 
       
 

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