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As an artist, I’m driven to explore and communicate ideas.

My 'Making Their Mark' series developed out of a strong curiosity about what my cultural identity is as a New Zealander looking back on early New Zealand; driven by my fascination with the extraordinary artistic creativity of the Māori and how that reveals in our people. Māori early history was passed down by word of mouth and by the decoration of what they made (whether it be a whare, a huia box or a gourd). Both Māori and Pakeha history and interaction has shaped us. 

The challenge was how to interpret and reflect this in my own art. 

I see a flow in the patterning, with shapes and textures that are derived from nature and spiritual forces. I see proud people with stories in their eyes - I see objects that have meaning to us – influences and images that remind us of our heritage. With this in mind, I have made my own marks and textures that project out of my works. 

As to materials, from early on in my artistic journey, I have used gold leaf and developed a modern application of it on an oak board. The grain of the oak, the sheen of the leaf and staining with acrylic paint in layers all give an effect that changes with light and viewing angles.

I’ve shaped these elements to produce a range of works that I’m proud of and that are seen and enjoyed around the world – an amalgam and celebration of early and modern New Zealand, and a blend of Māori and Pakeha.

The Parkin Drawing Prize is a highly regarded competition in New Zealand, it is a wonderful platform for artists. I hope to enter two of my works this year. 

If you are interested in seeing more of my work, please like my Facebook art page, follow my instagram or look at my website. Links below:

Jenny Mehrtens

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