J a m e s   F.   O r m s b y
F i n e  A r t i s t



Art Work


Exhibition Links

James Art Blog


Work on Paper      

Maorigami 1


Highslide JS Maorigami Series

 “Maorigrami” is syncretic korero (maori + origrami), and is an extension of my 2004 Waituhi Series. I trust that it is also an addition to the understanding of Maori Kowhaiwhai design.

For far to long Kowhaiwhai has been categorized and studied through western systems of evaluation*. Today many only refer to the published lexicon of graphic Maori design. As a result our general understanding of kowhaiwhai language is very narrow and our “Art is made tongue-tied by authority."

Maorigami is about expanding the knowledge base of Kowhaiwhai out from our current engrained academic conventions. I believe that our Maori Visual Culture is much more than regional style, symbol and interpretation, geometric analysis and decoration. I think it’s time now for Kowhaiwhai design analysis to extend outwards, in this case to ethno-mathematics (e.g. origami). Perhaps with

No rule.
No complexity.
No rank.
No mind.
No bottom.
No hindrance.
No stirring.

The designs – or visual language, of Ethno-mathematics is much more than the sum of these conceptual or Zen characteristics. These are simply pointers to help unpack, decode and grasp my Maorigami. My drawings do not explain any given kowhaiwhai pattern or language or tell us how it is made. What I am doing is developing a notion that Zen origami and Maori kowhaiwhai are possibly related in many ways. That each have a visual culture and language ? That each have a 3rd or even 4th dimension ? Perhaps by fusing kowhaiwhai and origami a fathom can be taken of the depths of some indigenous design.

 “That which transcends culture is the best Art of all !”
(John Bevan Ford)

James F. Ormsby, 2007.

Maorigami 3


Highslide JS



Highslide JS



Highslide JS


* Common Kowhaiwhai evaluations of our lexicon of 30 odd designs…
1/. Mathematic : limited Geometric analysis (e.g.: Glide Reflection, Half Turn and Vertical Reflection, Horizontal Reflection, etc…).
2/. Symbolic : Strict denotational meaning (e.g. Mango-pare = Hammerhead Shark, etc…).
3/. Regional : Modern Iwi branding (e.g. Pou-Horo = Te Arawa, etc…).
** W. Shakespeare.