20 Apr 2012

Art works reflect nature and family history

11:00 am on 20 April 2012

A prominent Maori artist exhibiting in Dunedin says his kowhaiwhai and floral patterns have a distinct whakapapa or genealogy influenced by his own family history.


Reuben Patterson's House of Rainbow exhibition at Milford Galleries features his signature canvases covered in glitter and his huge drops of printed PVC cloth featuring portions of large scale fabric and kowhaiwhai patterns.

The Auckland-based painter, who is of Ngati Rangitihi, Ngai Tuhoe and Pakeha descent, says that under the surface of his kowhaiwhai designs lies a story about its organic roots.

He says they are a part of a genealogy of kowhaiwhai, which is an abstract shape that has been inspired by the forms found in nature.

Mr Patterson says his floral works come from the same place, and he says he wanted to be able to take these designs back to their "maker" of sorts.

He says there is also a Pacific influence to these designs, but they also have a "retro" memory quality, with many of the fabrics used in his work having been worn by members of his family.

House of Rainbow runs until 24 April.