History of Our World

Out The Black Window | Ralph Hotere, 1997

Posted in Art, Print by B on December 16, 2009

‘Rain’, 1979. Oil and enamel on unstretched canvas, 2440 x 985 mm. Collection of A. and J. Smith, Auckland.


I can hear you
making small holes
in the silence

If I were deaf
the pores of my skin
would open to you
and shut

And I
should know you
by the lick of you
if I were blind

the something
special smell of you
when the sun cakes
the ground

the steady
drum-roll sound
you make
when the wind drops

But if I
should not hear
smell or feel or see

you would still
define me
disperse me
wash over me

Hone Tuwhare

At the forefront of New Zealand painting for over three decades Hone Papita Raukura (Ralph) Hotere was born in the remote Northland settlement of Mitimiti in 1931. After studying in England and Europe in the early 1960s, he returned to New Zealand and has been based in and around Dunedin since 1969, producing some of his finest work in collaboration with such poets as: Cilla McQueen, Bill Manhire, Hone Tuwhare and Ian Wedde. A member of the Aupouri tribe, Hotere has also incorporated traditional Maori poems into his artworks. These works have served as a bridge for New Zealand’s literary and visual art worlds and the association between the two has been resonant and vital in the development of this country’s cultural history.


Out The Black Window | Ralph Hotere

Gregory O’Brien : Ian Wedde

Godwit Publishing : City Gallery, Wellington



Ralph Hotere

City Gallery, Wellington


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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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