Whanganui artist Tapirioterangi Pirikahu was shortlisted for the inaugural Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award.
Launched in 2020, the award is a competition that encourages emerging Māori artists to create portraits of their tupuna (ancestors) in any medium.
The award attracted portraits using a wide range of mediums including whakairo (carving), raranga (weaving), photography, ceramics, and paintings.
The major first prize of $20,000 was awarded to Bodie Friend from Waikato for his photographic entry.
Pirikahu's painting, Rewharewha, is a tribute to her tupuna, Waanihi, and Rauāmoa and those who have died during the past year.
Waanihi was the artist's paternal great-grandmother (tupuna wahine) and she and her sister Rauāmoa died in the 1918 flu pandemic often referred to as Spanish flu.
The painting's title Rewharewha is the Māori word for influenza and the 1918 pandemic is estimated to have killed 40 million people worldwide and caused the deaths of up to 8,000 people in New Zealand.
"People were dying from rewharewha until 1922," Pirikahu said.
"The covid lockdown time caused me to think about my tūpuna and others who were lost during that earlier pandemic.
"Waanihi was my koko's mother and they were born on the Whanganui River at Kaiwhaiki to Tiiria Rio Maaka and Tawhitapou."
Although her painting is representative of her tupuna, Pirikahu has used two variations of her own image in the painting.
"The reason being is there are no photos of these kuia except for one that we suspect is Waanihi but could be her sister."
While Pirikahu was completing the painting, there were deaths within her whānau and iwi communities and their names were added within the layers of paint - they were Tanea Ngapeka, Taonga Manaia Mallon, Aanas Chedon Dehar, Te Huirangi Eruera Waikerepuru, Murray Snr Hori Turanga Rehe Ashford, Peter Michael Wheatcroft, Raeo Maria Fisher.
She also included Archie Hurunui, Atutahi Pirikahu and former MP and Whanganui District councillor Rana Waitai who died on May 8 as she was preparing to transport her painting to Wellington.
Pirikahu said her informal art training began with the vivid pictures she painted in her mind while driving around Whanganui and South Taranaki with her Koko Te Aute Poharama Pirikahu and nana Wikitoria Te Atarau Pirikahu hearing the narratives of Ngā Rauru and her tupuna.
She formalised her training with a Bachelor of Māori visual arts at Massey University in 2016. Her painting He Poroporoake mo Chédon Dehar was a finalist in the Patillo Whanganui Arts Review this year.
Rewharewha made the shortlist of 50 works selected from 128 entries for the award which also offers a runner-up prize of $2,500 won by Te Haunui Tuna of Waikato whose entry was a digital drawing and video. There is also a people's choice award of 2,500 and voting is open at nzportraitgallery.org.nz/kiingituheitiaaward
• The Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award exhibition will run at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakata in Shed 11 on Wellington's waterfront from May 28 to August 15, after this, the exhibition will be touring nationally. The public can also vote for their choice to win the People's Choice Award – a cash prize of $2,500, announced at the close of the exhibition.