John Bevan Ford (1930-2005) was inspired by the belief that land gives life, that it carries a spiritual essence and that it connects people. As a painter, carver, and sculptor his art drew inspiration and strength from his Māori heritage. This painting, Te Hono Ki Zeelandia Nova (From Golden Bay to Taranaki, The Tasman Series, 1992), features a brightly coloured korowai floating above a landscape scene which is representative of mana over land and resources. The painting also features several islands and Mount Taranaki in the bottom right corner.
John’s work is represented in numerous public and private collections throughout Aotearoa and in the collections of significant international institutions. The carved archway at the entrance to Ōwae marae, Waitara is another example of his work. It was carved in the 1970s and tells the story of Whare Matangi and the naming of Waitara. In 2005 John was acknowledged with the Te Waka Toi Kingi Ihaka Award for his prolific and outstanding contribution to the arts in Aotearoa and abroad and for his many years as a leader in contemporary Māori art. He was known as an eloquent and colourful speaker who shared his knowledge and culture with pride.
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