Picture Painting; Shane Cotton; 1994; 1994/8


Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki


Picture Painting

About this object

Picture Painting is a hybrid of Mäori and Päkehä images; a fusion of European and Mäori imagery, it is a painting which brings together two different pictures. The pot derives from Rongopai, the 1887 wharenui or meeting-house near Gisborne, which contains important figurative and naturalistic paintings; the plant from a painting by Gordon Walters influenced by Paul Klee. In 1993, when Shane Cotton took up a lectureship in traditional and contemporary Mäori art at Massey University's Mäori Studies Department, he began studying early Mäori figurative painting and was impressed both by the images and 'the weight of what they were saying'. ' . . . the pot and plant image features frequently throughout [meeting-] houses on the East Coast. Given that this image began to appear during times of land confiscation . . . there is no doubt about its political significance as a statement of land ownership, and the reaffirmation of a hapu's connection to their area . . . The images deal with aspects of acculturation, appropriation, identity and history intertwined with narrative and myth'. Cotton sees his work drawing attention to a Mäori art form which had previously received little recognition. Gregory O'Brien noted in Shane Cotton's work ' . . . an imaginative commentary on Empire and the process of colonisation, sifting through the iconography, as well as the junk, of English colonialism and filtering them through a Mäori perspective'. (from The Guide, 2001)


Shane Cotton

Maker Role


Date Made


Medium and Materials

oil on canvas


1833 x 1522mm

Subject and Association Description

still life, pots, flowerpots, flowers, politics, identity, land rights

Credit Line

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, purchased 1994

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved


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