Peata Larkin

“My time at Karekare was an emotional time as we had lost a very important person in our lives a few days before my Karekare residency was about to start, my mother-in-law Anne Larkin. I was hesitant to go due to my state of mind but as soon as I reached this beautiful environment I felt the wairua (spirit) swarming the atmosphere. I noticed the Karekare light was harsh and bright even on a cloudy day and at night the darkness is almost like a blanket of black. It was intriguing to experience. This was something I knew a potential series would stem from but as time passed I had a stronger urge to create a series of paintings on embroidered silk first.

The only painting I finished at the residency was a small silk work. It was the ‘kaokao’ pattern which is symbolic of protection. Yellow was my ‘happy’ colour from a very young age and when I think of the good times, I see it in yellow, so in a sense, this series of work is a testament to happiness and accepting the positive over the negative. 

Each painting in this series has a central line from which the composition developed. I have always worked intuitively and this series was no exception. The symmetrical nature and materiality of the works allude to interpretations of dualities: Art_craft, Maori_Pakeha, modernity_tradition, fragility_strength, nature_nurture, happy_sad…etc… 

When I started to create more paintings in my own studio, it was then that I realised where these works were taking me. My emotional state at the time of the residency became the forefront of this series but more so the ways in which, as an artist, I can celebrate those I have loved and lost through my visual language.”

Peata Larkin (b. Rotorua, Aotearoa New Zealand) graduated with a Master of Fine Art from RMIT, Melbourne in 2009, after receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Elam School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland (2004). Peata Larkin’s work operates in a space between binary constructions – Māori/Pākehā, past/present, art/science, matter/spirit – weaving cultures and spheres of knowledge together into new hybrid forms. In 2018, Larkin was the recipient of the Kaipara Wallace Arts Trust Award Residency at Altes Spital in Solothurn, Switzerland and was awarded the Molly Morpeth Canaday Award in 2006.

In 2013, Larkin completed the large-scale commission, Piki Ake – Rise Up, for the ANZ Tower in Auckland’s central business district. Following the success of this project Larkin has received consistent public and private commissions including Westgate, Newmarket (2018), Park Hyatt, Wynyard Quarter (2019) and a new large-scale commission for the International Conference Centre, Auckland.