Aaron Te Whanatangi Kereopa
(b.1971) New Zealand Maori.
Ko Tainui te waka, Ko Waikato te iwi, Ko Ngati Tahinga, Ko Ngati Hine, Ko Ngati Porou nga hapu
In 1985 the Rainbow Warrior was destroyed in an explosion down at the Auckland Wharf, sparking another wave of anti nuclear protest across New Zealand. During this period Kereopa was living on the shores of Whaingaroa (Raglan) on his family land where he saw a surfboard carved with the message "No Nukes in the Pacific" on television.
Inspired and wishing to express his screaming silent voice, Kereopa felt he had something to say, so he took a broken surfboard and began to experiment. Initially using a kitchen knife and a spoon to carve the foam he shortly realised that similar techniques applied to carving wood could be used on the foam. If he used finer bladed tools with an even finer cutting method rather than a chisel and mallet action the possibilities became endless.
Kereopa's work utilises a visual language that behaves as a code as he draws on themes both universal and personal such as Maori mythology, geography, his ancestors, genealogy, navigation and pop art culture. The surf culture and ocean lifestyle experiences.
Since that first day he picked up a knife and surfboard over 20 years ago, the self taught artist still enjoys creating contemporary Maori / Polynesian artworks from home using recycled surfboards, his art continues to inspire many.
Aaron Kereopa artworks are held in private collections in New Zealand, Australia, Singapore, America, Hawaii, Brazil, Europe, Tahiti, Fiji. He also carves to commission and his home/ studio is open by appointment.
(Past Exhibitions & Projects) 2001-2017
Coolangatta Surf Expo
Billabong Pro Tahiti
Aqua Velvet Raglan
Commonwealth Games Melbourne (Global Art Projects)
Toi O Tahuna
Maori Art Market
Russian Project ( Helena Bay)
Raglan Arts Weekend
Auckland Art Fair