This article presents some of the most famous contemporary artists in New Zealand who have promoted Maori rights and identity in contemporary arts.
Robyn Kahukiwa made her breakthrough in the 1980s in the Wahine Toa or Strong Women exposition with her work on Maori myths and religion. She often works on themes related to imperialism and political rights, using Maori identity as a source of power in her oeuvre.
Kura Te Waru Rewiri
Kura Te Waru has been active in New Zealand since 1985, and her works are to be found in the Auckland Art Gallery and Te Papa Tongarewa museum. She has dedicated her career to the impacts of colonization and Maori resistance to European occupation. She has been a pioneer in presenting Maori realities in contemporary New Zealand art.
Emily Karaka is a self-taught artist and a key figure of the first generation of contemporary Maori artists. She paints abstract and expressionist works which are usually intense in style and colour. Like other artists in her generation, she has worked primarily on themes related to Maori nationalism and political rights.
Star Gossage is a versatile artist who works with painting, theatre, films, poetry, and sculpture. She has been innovative in style, combining European expressionism, impressionism, and surrealism with traditional Maori notions of art. This way, she has pushed the boundaries of what constitutes Maori art in New Zealand. Her works are exhibited in the most prestigious galleries in New Zealand, as well as abroad.
Saffronn Te Ratana
Saffron Te Ratana is a visual artist and sculpturist, and a leading contemporary Maori artist in her field. She often incorporates tribal and traditional elements in her work, as well as references to traditional Maori myths and beliefs. As well as many other artists of her generation, she explores themes of the oppression of Maori communities.