Gordon Walters: Koru

One motif. Thirty years of exhaustive exploration. Gordon Walters’ koru series combines a customary Māori symbol with European abstraction in seemingly endless ways.

Walters’ obsession with the koru began early. As a boy, he spent hours exploring the Māori and Pacific works at the Dominion Museum, Te Papa’s predecessor.

For Māori, the koru symbolises new life and has a special place in customary art. Its use by non-Māori artists like Walters has been hotly debated. Even so, this series has found its own special place in the hearts and minds of many New Zealanders.

Karakia, 1977, Christchurch, by Gordon Walters. Purchased 1978 with Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council of New Zealand funds. Te Papa (1978-0019-1)

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