Women key focus of Hariata Ropata-Tangahoe art exhibition – NZ Herald

Women key focus of Hariata Ropata-Tangahoe art exhibition - NZ Herald
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Acclaimed Raumati Beach based artist Hariata Ropata-Tangahoe is showcasing a monumental series of her works at The New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata.

The 10 artworks come from various collections, including the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa as well as her own collection.

“The exhibition is called Ira Wahine, which is the DNA of us.

“It follows my matriarchal whakapapa, but roams into mythical, historical, traditional and oral stories as well.

“I heard somewhere that the best predictor is the past.

“It follows my subconscious thoughts to do with women matriarchs and throws in different cultural backgrounds – my Māori side, my Italian side, my Celtic side.”

This painting is called 'Ngā Tuāhine (Sisters)' and depicts Hariata Ropata-Tangahoe's three daughters Bela, Rewa and Aniwaniwa.
This painting is called ‘Ngā Tuāhine (Sisters)’ and depicts Hariata Ropata-Tangahoe’s three daughters Bela, Rewa and Aniwaniwa.

She was looking forward to seeing the exhibition.

“It will be great to see them [the artworks].

“Each will bring back memories.”

Ropata-Tangahoe, who is of Ngāti Toa, Ngāti Raukawa, Te Āti Awa, Te Arawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Celtic and Italian descent, said the exhibition was “a little snippet” of her artworks.

“There’s a lot more out there.”

Ropata-Tangahoe, 71, has been an artist for a long time.

She remembers enjoying art when she attended Waikanae School.

“It was something that came naturally to me, compared to academia.”

Mei Carkeek-Higgott. Photo / Stephen A'Court
Mei Carkeek-Higgott. Photo / Stephen A’Court

But her artistic journey really started after she went to Auckland and met some well-known artists.

“It’s a long story, but to cut it short, I married an artist [Murray Grimsdale] who was in the art scene, and he could see my potential and helped me develop.

“We separated, but I kept going with my art and have never stopped.”

She did some art studies in Waikato before completing a master’s degree at Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland.

“A lot of stuff has happened, but I came home to Kāpiti and have been here ever since.

“I’m still developing my art and trying to find my way.”

Ropata-Tangahoe has many works in progress and tries to do a bit of art in the mornings.

Rongopamamau Kohe-Carkeek. Photo / Stephen A'Court
Rongopamamau Kohe-Carkeek. Photo / Stephen A’Court

“Creating art grounds me.

“It’s like an escape from the real world, too.

“You go into your own world and go to places where nobody has ever been.

“I live in my own world of imagination, but at the same time, I can come out of it and be real.”

The exhibition, Ira Wahine: Portraits by Hariata Ropata-Tangahoe, runs from March 16 to June 11.

The New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata is located at Shed 11, 60 Lady Elizabeth Way, Wellington Waterfront.

This content was originally published here.