Isiaha Barlow


Isiaha Te Rangatira Barlow (born 1977, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa, Ngāti Uenuku) holds a Master of Māori Visual Arts degree from Massey University. He is known for his immaculate paintings in egg tempera and gold and silver leaf, reminiscent of Byzantine icons and early Renaissance altarpieces.


Barlow casts important Māori artists as saints, playing with notions the iconic and the canonical. He draws on motifs and styles associated with his subjects in order to acknowledge their individual achievements. Moreover, he emphasises their position as artistic tūpuna, worthy of reverence. His making processes are painstaking, requiring great concentration. Finished works become taonga, entities possessing mauri (life force) and wairua (spirit).


Barlow has featured in important group exhibitions, including Nouméa-Pacifique (2000), the Nouméa Biennale of Contemporary Art, Pūrangiaho: Seeing Clearly (2001) at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, Te Huringa/Turning Points (2006–10) organised by the Fletcher Trust and the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rēhua, and Every Artist (2021) at City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi. His works are held by the Sarjeant Gallery and in private collections throughout Aotearoa.