Isiaha Barlow: 12 Mothers

27 Aug - 2 Oct 2021

In 2000, Isiaha Barlow created his12 Saints series, in which he portrayed important Māori artists as saints using techniques associated with Byzantine icons or early Renaissance panel paintings. The works were included in the landmark Pūrangiaho: Seeing Clearly (2001) at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. At a symposium in connection with the show, the late Jonathan Mane-Wheoki noted that all the subjects were men and challenged Barlow to produce works showing key women artists as well. The result was his 12 Mothers from 2006. The series was recently included in Every Artist (2021), curated by Aaron Lister, at City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi.

 

Echoing images of Christian saints, Barlow’s paintings include ‘attributes’, or identifying elements. Sometimes, these derive from motifs or styles associated with the artists. In St Robyn, for instance, Robyn Kahukiwa’s head is depicted in a manner that recalls her own paintings. Barlow transforms icons of Aotearoa art into painted icons, literally canonising of some of our most significant artists. His works testify to the importance of artistic whakapapa. They recall portraits of tūpuna in wharenui, and serve to acknowledge that, with the passage of time, artists can achieve a sort of holy status, can become atua.

  • Isiaha Barlow
    St Robyn, 2006
    Egg tempera and gold and silver leaf on linen on MDF board
    395 x 345mm (framed)
    NZD 6,500.00
    • Isiaha Barlow, St Katarina, 2006
      Isiaha Barlow, St Katarina, 2006
      NZD 6,500.00
    • Isiaha Barlow, St Rangimārie, 2006
      Isiaha Barlow, St Rangimārie, 2006
      NZD 6,500.00
    • Isiaha Barlow, St Cath, 2006
      Isiaha Barlow, St Cath, 2006
      NZD 6,500.00
    • Isiaha Barlow, St Diane, 2006
      Isiaha Barlow, St Diane, 2006
      NZD 6,500.00
  • Isiaha Barlow, St Kura, 2006

    Isiaha Barlow

    St Kura, 2006 Egg tempera and gold and silver leaf on linen on MDF board
    395 x 345mm (framed)
    • Isiaha Barlow, St Emare, 2006
      Isiaha Barlow, St Emare, 2006
      NZD 6,500.00
    • Isiaha Barlow, St Er-anoa, 2006
      Isiaha Barlow, St Er-anoa, 2006
      NZD 6,500.00
    • Isiaha Barlow, St Diggeress, 2006
      Isiaha Barlow, St Diggeress, 2006
      NZD 6,500.00
    • Isiaha Barlow, St Kahutoi, 2006
      Isiaha Barlow, St Kahutoi, 2006
      NZD 6,500.00
    • Isiaha Barlow, St Te Aue, 2006
      Isiaha Barlow, St Te Aue, 2006
      NZD 6,500.00
    • Isiaha Barlow, St Elizabeth, 2006
      Isiaha Barlow, St Elizabeth, 2006
      NZD 6,500.00
  • Isiaha Barlow (left) and Emily Karaka (right), Every Artist (installation view), City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi, 27 March to 1 August 2021. Photograph by Harry Culy

  • Isiaha Te Rangatira Barlow (born 1977, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Tahu-Ngāti Whaoa, Ngāti Uenuku) holds a Master of Māori Visual Arts degree...
    Isiaha Barlow at Every Artist, City Gallery Wellington Te Whare Toi, March 2021. Photograph by Elias Rodriguez

    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 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.