Mas­ter bone carver’s new exhibition

Kapi-Mana News - - FRONT PAGE -

Owen Mapp has clocked up half a cen­tury of carv­ing work, an achieve­ment be­ing cel­e­brated in an exhibition at Porirua’s Pa¯taka Mu­seum.

About 250 works are on dis­play un­til Au­gust 19, in the exhibition ti­tled Owen Mapp: Dragons & Tani­wha – 50 Years an Artist Carver.

The Ka¯piti artist said it was re­ward­ing to see his work col­lected in one place.

‘‘It’s ex­tremely sat­is­fy­ing as a 50-year state­ment, par­tic­u­larly as I was the first one to re­vi­talise bone carv­ing and teach bone carv­ing in New Zealand.

‘‘In the 60s there was no bone carv­ing in the shops or gal­leries.’’

Awarua, Porirua’s le­gendary tani­wha, is the in­spi­ra­tion for the whale­bone tani­wha that lends its name to the exhibition he said, while the Vik­ing dragon ref­er­ences his an­ces­tors from the Shet­land Is­lands.

Mapp be­came in­ter­ested in carv­ing through ar­chae­ol­ogy and mu­seum work in New Zealand and overseas.

Af­ter sell­ing all 30 of his carv­ings in his first ma­jor exhibition in 1972, he fo­cused on de­vel­op­ing his ca­reer in bone carv­ing and quickly es­tab­lished him­self through reg­u­lar ex­hi­bi­tions as a re­spected con­tem­po­rary bone carv­ing artist.

For much of his carv­ing ca­reer, he also lec­tured, pre­sented work­shops and taught classes in the tech­niques of con­tem­po­rary bone carv­ing at ter­tiary in­sti­tu­tions and mu­se­ums through­out New Zealand and overseas.

In 1986 he was asked to tu­tor carv­ing at Whi­tireia Polytech­nic, Porirua, and var­i­ous other in­sti­tu­tions.

He con­tin­ued to teach carv­ing at Whi­tireia for 28 years, al­ways part-time, al­low­ing him plenty of time in his stu­dio.

In ad­di­tion to ex­hibit­ing his work reg­u­larly in gal­leries and mu­se­ums through­out New Zea- land and Ja­pan, he has also lec­tured and ex­hib­ited widely in the United States, Bri­tain, Scan­di­navia, the Nether­lands, China, Canada and Aus­tralia.

Pa¯taka’s di­rec­tor, Reuben Friend, said the exhibition cel­e­brated Mapp’s achievements as the most in­flu­en­tial bone and pre­cious stone artist in Aotearoa New Zealand.

‘‘There are very few artists in this coun­try to­day who match his skill and tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise in the field of bone carv­ing and small ob­ject sculp­ture,’’ Friend said.

‘‘He is widely ac­knowl­edged as one of Aotearoa’s pre-em­i­nent liv­ing artists in that field.’’

A book show­cas­ing Mapp’s life and work – Owen Mapp: Dragons & Tani­wha – 50 Years an Artist Carver – is be­ing re­leased by Pa¯taka to co­in­cide with the exhibition.

Ka¯piti carver Owen Mapp is open­ing a new exhibition at Pa¯taka Mu­seum in Porirua.

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