History of Our World

This Is A Black Union Jack, Ralph Hotere

Posted in Art, Print by B on September 24, 2009

This Is A Black Union Jack, 1979
This Is A Black Union Jack.
Acrylic on unstretched canvas.

Ralph Hotere is widely regarded as one of New Zealand’s most significant painters.

A persistent feature of Hotere’s work has been his extraordinary alertness to major movements in modern contemporary art, combined with deep and sophisticated ease with his tribal and religious traditions. The values and cultural inheritance from his family, and from Te Aupouri, have been central to his work for over fifty years. The vitality and power of Hotere’s paintings insist to raise private feeling to public relevance and to draw public events towards precise individual response. The range and complexity of life, it’s celebration and its rituals of loss, constantly engage him. Yet the intense core of privacy that persists in even the most public of his works marks Hotere as the most enigmatic of New Zealand’s artists.

Hotere has always been wary of talking about his art, and skeptical of theoretical claims to corner it. He has always insisted that anything to be said about his paintings is said in the painting of them. If they seem to pose questions, the answer is in the looking.

The Springbok tour divided New Zealand as nothing else had ever done. In Hotere’s “Black Union Jack” series, the flag of imperialism is leached of it’s colour and so it’s emblematic harmony carried an obvious satirical statement on Empire and it’s residual racism that the 1981 tour underscored.

Arts Centre Bookshop

1981 Springbok Tour


Ralph Hotere


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One Response

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  1. Toni said, on March 17, 2011 at 06:43

    what did Ralph hoteres parents do for a living? i am using him as an artist model for my NZQA and i am curious. Thank you .

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