Emily Karaka


Emily Karaka was born in 1952 in Tāmaki Makaurau, where she continues to live and work. She is of Ngāti Hine (Ngāpuhi), Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Te Kawerau ā Maki, Ngāti Tamaoho, Te Ākitai Waiohua, Te Ahiwaru, Ngāti Mahuta, and Ngāti Tahinga (Waikato) affiliations, and has been exhibiting for more than 40 years. 


Her paintings draw on diverse art-making traditions, including toi whakairo, or carving, and abstract expressionism. Characterised by dazzling colour and emotional intensity, they frequently incorporate text and tie into the artist’s longstanding work advocating for tino rangatiratanga, self-determination. 


Works are held by important Aotearoa institutions, such as Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua. She recently produced major paintings for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, NIRIN (2020), and the landmark exhibition Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art (2020–21).