Master bone carver’s new exhibition
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.