Paora Tiatoa (Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Raukawa) is opening his exhibition, Beauty and the Beast, at the Hihiaua Cultural Centre in Whangārei tonight.
The 48-year-old printmaker from Waimate North graduated from Northtec in 2015 with a Bachelor of Applied Arts majoring in Visual Arts. Initially, Tiatoa was an abstract shape formation painter but soon moved into screen printing, particularly ink jet, jet screen, and abstract multi-pass printing. He calls his style "abstract multi-pass screen prints".
"I actually started doing screen printing in my third year at Northtec and after I finished, I combined the two styles [abstract shape formation and screen printing] together," said Tiatoa.
His work is based around taonga currently in the care of the British Museum, particularly a heru comb collected on Captain Cook's expedition to the South Pacific. Heru feature prominently throughout Tiatoa's work and he has included them over the last five years.
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"In my third year of study, I switched to contemporary Māori art because there was a transfer [of energy] between me and the heru comb," said Tiatoa.
Tiatoa's first foray into multi-pass screen printing art was inspired after he had "exhausted" his prints and wanted to do something new. He decided to combine multiple aspects of different prints to create new ones, eventually creating a print inspired by his love of heru and lowrider cars.
Since creating his initial multi-pass print, Tiatoa has not looked back. He has created hundreds of pieces, some of which have been exhibited in The Poi Room, ORA Gallery, and the RED Art Gallery just to name a few.
"I hope people come away thinking "that's different" and that my work inspires engaging conversations," said Tiatoa.