Ngatai Taepa

New Zealander, born 1976

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Ngatai Taepa

New Zealander, born 1976

Fueled by a childhood fascination with New Zealand's indigenous Māori art, Ngatai Taepa is known for the incorporation of the culture's kowhaiwhai pattern within his paintings and installations. Taepa views the pattern, which values positive and negative space of equal importance, as a lesson in simplicity and a revival of the way his ancestors viewed the world. While attending college, Taepa observed and participated in the construction of these ornate patterned fabrics, which are typically designed for the rafters of Māori meeting houses. Taepa went on to create his own designs, rendered through computer software and industrial technology—his drawings are fed into a software program that creates stencils with smooth, intricate linework. Taepa then overlays these patterns upon highly polished surfaces, resulting in the technological, high-gloss aesthetic that defines his oeuvre.

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