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- Artist Bio
John Rutherford's stories of life among the Maori as a slave, chief and warrior in the early/mid 1800s are greeted with some skepticism among academics as time lines do not always meet up. However, there is no doubt he was a hardy and clever survivor of shipwreck, cannibalism and war, escaping back to England where he played the "White Chief" in sideshows and fairs until his death. Rutherford became one of the early Europeans to live an extraordinary life as a P?keh? M?ori and to receive the full M?ori facial tattoo. This image is in reference to an early pen and ink of the actual man. P?keh? M?ori is a term used to describe early European settlers who lived among the M?ori and took on the Maori lifestyle. Some were kept as slaves, many being runaway seamen or escaped convicts while some achieved a degree of prestige among M?ori and fought in battle with their adopted tribe in the New Zealand land wars, sometimes against European soldiers. Characters like these make our history burst with colour, life and great energy, we ignore them at our great loss.
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*Fine Art Print, Unlimited Edition.
Lester was born in Wellington, New Zealand in 1956 and has been self supporting through his art for the last twenty years. He has painted and studied New Zealand history and Maori - European - Pacific centric artwork all of that time.
My printed works are a collection of what the last 20 years of my life has taught me…not to mention what being brought up in White living rooms has given me.
I could prattle on here about what art and where etc I have done but apart from saying that my Tapa paintings represent a bedding in for me of my status as a Pacific Islander stats about me hold little interest.
I prefer in this context some specificity as to my nature and my drivers as the race relations commentary I make is often misconstrued as either White supremacist or Maori centric.
I consider myself an outsider artist, social commentator first and my art is a vehicle for my thoughts and philosophies and aspirations for my country. My art is a conversation with myself and represents moving thought not static dogma. My prints are not numbered and I change them to reflect or emphasise my thoughts whenever I choose to.