Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Beautiful dragonflies seemed so common
when I was a small child.
Ethereal beings of beauty and magic.
In Japan the dragonfly is a symbol of courage and victory, hope and happiness.

A dragonfly landed on my bedroom curtain at sunrise a few mornings ago.
 I precariously stood on my bed to capture the image and
 and while I teetered there betwixt and between,
I heard it on the six o'clock news..
Ralph Hotere
had died .

I felt a sense of loss.
Such a life.
 A toanga,
who has gifted our small country with deeply spiritual art.

Tonight I doodled in my small journal as I watched a film on Maori TV.

 The totara has fallen....

but the legacy of art is forever.

 Rainbow waterfalls, perfect thin red circles on shining black.
The Phoenix Rises.
 I will never forget standing before those tall fire scarred posts,
partly taken back to unharmed wood that shone like gold,
with the bow of boat in the centre .. proud and rising.
Black Phoenix.

Always the work of Hotere is poetry, metaphor, song and dance in paint
and wood, tin and light.

Another time, long ago, in the Auckland Art Gallery,
I stood with friends before his waterfall.
I was bewitched by it.
The colours in those magic lines fell from top to bottom.
I could hear the waterfall sing.
We stood in silence.

" He calls that a waterfall?"
someone said.

 Your art will live on with us forever, Ralph Hotere.

You make me want to take black paint.. some red... some gold,
and  tell the story
of who we are.
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  1. Your header shot literally took my breath away, Joan. It is stunning.

    I'm sorry another creative spirit has slipped from this place to another...but you are so right - they still inspire us and that is the timeless gift of the artist.

  2. What a beautiful and moving post about a great artist. I met him on the boat coming back from Europe where he, like me, had been doing his O.E. He used to paint on the ironing board at night, on the landing between decks.
    This is a wonderful tribute Joan. Thank you, and good to see you back on the blog!

  3. What a touching tribute, Joan. Your words are like a song, to me. It is so hard, isn't it, when we see such lives move on?

    It is, however, good to see you writing on your blog again. I've missed you, and now, I see, you are walking, and walking, and walking.! Good for you, Joan.

  4. a wonderful story. i had not heard of Hotere. he sounds like he was a good and brave person

  5. A beautiful tribute and I love your description of hearing of his passing.... the simple beauty of life itself...