Creative Kōrero, The Spotlight, Visual Arts

The Spotlight: Arohanoa Artistry

Contemporary visual artist Arohanoa Mathews, of Arohanoa Artistry, is currently working out of the Okorere – Ngā Toi Māori studio in the Historic Village. We caught up with her for a chat…

Creative Bay of Plenty: Tell us a bit about your background.

Arohanoa: I was born in Whakatane and whakapapa to Ngai Tukairangi and Ngati Tapu Hapu (Ngai Te Rangi Iwi) and was brought up in Brisbane (10 years from ages 4 -14), lived and taught art in Secondary Schools in Auckland and recently returned from Perth (8 years) from running an Art Department of a Catholic School to reside back home in Tauranga (Matapihi) to work on my art and business full time.

CBOP: What does your art aim to say?

A: My art is a reflection of my Maori identity (from my Mother’s side – Rebecca Chaplow nee Faulkner) and my passion around uplifting our people through self awareness and empowerment. My art represents, ‘ who I am and where I am from’ – uniquely Maori and proud. The use of moko kauae (chin tattoo) symbolises strength and mana that our people possess and to stand in their power.

CBOP: Who are your biggest influences?

A: My biggest influences are my parents (David and Rebecca Chaplow), my tupuna (ancestors), my whanau and the people who surround and support my mind, body and spirit (whare tapa wha). I believe that every one that I connect with has a place of importance in my life whether it be for a short or long time frame. Personal growth from connections, is key.

CBOP: How do you know when a work is finished?

A: I ‘feel’ that it is. If I like every aspect of it and don’t feel like anything needs editing, it is complete.

CBOP: Is there something you can’t live without in your studio?

A: My easel!

CBOP: What can we expect from Arohanoa Artistry next?

A: I have been given the opportunity to work with my Tauranga Moana community on grass roots level this year through art workshops, art facilitation roles and through my art and merchandise, however, next year, I am looking at working alongside my iwi and Tangata Whenua to uplift our rangatahi (youth) through educational organisations (mainly schools) through culturally inclusive and responsive activities via Okorore (Faulkner Homestead and Ngai Te Rangi Iwi). This no doubt will be featured throughout my art also!

Follow Arohanoa Artistry on Facebook and Instagram. Check out her line of streetwear and accessories on her website here.

Creative Kōrero, The Spotlight, Visual Arts

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