Ralph Hotere 1931 – 2013

Dunedin-based artist Ralph Hotere ONZ, has died.

The 81-year-old, who is regarded as one of New Zealand’s most important artists, was made a Member of the Order of New Zealand in 2011.

Governor-General Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae conferred the honour in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

Sir Jerry said at the time that the award “speaks of service, merit, endeavour, perseverance, commitment, excellence and, above all, mana”. . .

Born in Northland and of Te Aupouri iwi descent, Hotere’s hometown of Mitimiti played a key role in his work.

He was based in Otago for a number of years.

The citation for Hotere’s Order of New Zealand said that as a painter, sculptor and collaborative artist, he had reacted to social and environmental issues through his work.

His art is dominated by black, both in colour and in the artworks’ titles, and makes extensive use of words, often quoting poets and his conversations with them.

He dealt with key New Zealand historical events such as the Springbok tour, the Rainbow Warrior sinking and the Aramoana massacre. . . 

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