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The colour palette

Slide to reveal the inspiration of the colours.

Nike Savvas talks to Curator Contemporary Art, Nina Tonga, about Finale: Bouquet, on display until Jan 2020.

I wanted to make a field or bouquet of colour that related to specific flora  ...  the colours found in New Zealand were a great inspiration.


The beautiful watercolours of artist Sarah Featon proved particularly instructive.


My colours were derived from the following flora: kōwhai, forget-me-not, white mountain lily, taurepo, kākābeak, mānuka, pōhutukawa, and sun orchid.


[Myosotis species (5) Forget-me-not], about 1885, New Zealand, by Sarah Featon. Te Papa (1992-0035-2277/35)

Mountain lily

The mountain lily, about 1885, New Zealand, by Sarah Featon. Te Papa (1992-0035-2277/73)


Yellow Kowhai, 1888, New Zealand, by Sarah Featon. Te Papa (1992-0035-2277/72)


Manuka, about 1885, New Zealand, by Sarah Featon. Te Papa (1992-0035-2277/66)

My approach incorporates years of studying different aspects of colour theory.


Over time, I have developed an attuned sensitivity to working with colour relations at a complex and highly sensitive level – materially, spatially, optically, perceptually, and also intuitively.


This has proved to be crucial in respect to the colours chosen and the layout and spacing of each coloured tab.

Sun orchid

[Thelymitra longifolia], about 1885, New Zealand, by Sarah Featon. Te Papa (1992-0035-2277/117)


Euphrasia cuneata; Rhabdothamnus solandri [also known as taurepo]; Utricularia monanthos, about 1885, by Sarah Featon. Te Papa (1992-0035-2277/18)


Pōhutukawa – Metrosideros Tomentosa, 1888, New Zealand, by Sarah Featon. Te Papa (1992-0035-2277/67)


Read the full-length interview with Nike Savvas on your own device at