The concept of the artwork is about kaitiakitanga, a Māori concept encapsulating guardianship, stewardship and protection. It focuses on the human relationship between land and waterways, as the water flows from our snow-capped mountains out to our rich and diverse ocean which is up to us to protect it for the wellbeing of every living thing.
Artist, Shaugn Briggs thought about the connection between NZ and Antarctica and the similarities that we share and decided to use Kaikoura as a backdrop. This is an area where our snowy mountains meet the sea and it is a large feeding ground for our marine life that has come from Antarctica. Another thing that NZ shares with Antarctica is the Southern lights (Aurora Australis). The pāua shell wings and feet are a feature of Shaugn’s artistic style. The pāua is so realistic and has become something Shaugn is known for – in fact his ability to paint pāua with this detail in metallics has been featured in an international book. The front of the penguin has the realm of Takaroa, while the back represents the realm of Tāne Mahuta. Rehua can be found at the top of the back of the penguin shining down on all.
This project has brought elements of Shaugn’s previous works together. He has painted several landscapes of mountains and the braided rivers, several paintings of pīwakawaka (Fantails) and of course his series of paūa shells have all come together in this one piece.
Artist: Shaugn Briggs