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Heke Study 13, 2003 Highslide JS My Work on Wood

I seem to be continually asking myself - if my ancestors (both Maori & Scottish) were alive today 

1. What stuff would they use for Art and
2. What marks would they make ?

For the moment I’ve come up with the following response -

What stuff would they use for Art ?
Today there are numerous people and some Artists doing Maori Art (especially in new media Digital, Synthetics, etc…). l’ve conversely used another section of media – the organic. I look to and research nature. I then practice with Milk Paints, Natural Oils, and marks on wood. I like to think that my ancestors would recognise this approach and thus be attracted to or comfortable with these natural materials ?

What marks would they make ?
 I believe my Tipuna – or ancestors, used visual symbols and signs to communicate things. Perhaps like some of them, my mark making is a second language. I know it is in my blood. I believe l practice this kind of whakairo – or design, honestly and with some hand-eye co-ordination. My approach to this whakairo is also sensitive to the qualities of our material culture.

For some reason l get uncomfortable when others call it “Contemporary Maori Art”; on the other hand, I’m happy when my family and friends say things like -“Oh-well, very good boy !”.

James Ormsby, 2006.

Heke Study 14, 2003

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Waka Series 4, 2003

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Wai Land 5 Highslide JS