Friday, June 5, 2020

Te Kuia Moko bring paintings of kuia bearing chin moko to readers nationwide

A revered selection of paintings of Māori women bearing moko kauae has returned to life in a new printing of Harry Sangl’s celebrated book Blue Privilege, to be published in June as Te Kuia Moko.

Newly arrived in New Zealand in 1969, Prague-born artist Harry Sangl became captivated by the paintings of kaumatua and kuia (elders) of  C.F. Goldie and Gottfried Lindauer. 

He believed kuia with moko kauae (chin tattoos) were of a bygone era — until he saw a photograph of one in March 1972 in the New Zealand Herald

Haromi Rutene Karaitiana (Ngāi Tūhoe) sits for her portrait by Harry Sangl
Tiria Tuhoro was her name. Harry packed up his caravan and left that same day to find her at Ruatoki, near Te Urewera. So began a three-and-a-half-year journey around the North Island, completed portraits of 34 kuia with moko, with their permission. 
The portrait and biography of Herepo Rongo (Tainui) in Te Kuia Moko
His celebrated paintings were published as The Blue Privilege in 1980, accompanied by biographies of the women in their own words and black-and-white sketches of their moko, along with essays by Merimeri Penfold and D.R. Simmons.
Merimeri Penfold's essay elucidates the importance of moko kauae in Māori society
All the works were shown together again in 2019 in a popular exhibition at the Depot Artspace in Devonport, Auckland (see coverage on Te Karere here).

Following up on the interest that exhibition stirred, Harry and his daughter Michaela have worked with Auckland printers Soar Print and publishers Oratia Books to prepare this affordable paperback edition. 

Harry with daughter Michaela (left) and granddaughter Isla (right) in front of the remains of Tiria Tuhoro's house in Ruatoki in 2015
The author
Harry Sangl was a professional artist in Germany before emigrating to New Zealand in 1969 and beginning his journey into te Ao MāoriAn exhibition of his kuia moko prints was held at Auckland’s Depot Artspace in March 2019. Now in his nineties, Harry lives in Auckland. 

Publication: 9 June 2020  |  RRP $65  |  ISBN:  978-0-947506-77-3

Paperback, 330 x 250 mm, 100 pages, colour

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