Erin Langford and Maiko Lewis-Whaanga
Date: Feb 1 – Feb 28Space: Foyer
Maiko was born in England to a Japanese mother and Scottish/Welsh father, but has lived in Gisborne since she was 3.
Primary school teaching was Maiko’s passion for 13 years. Then a few years ago a friend took her along to an art exhibition at Toihoukura; School of Maori Visual Art. She was inspired by the amazing art on show, and was at a point in her life where she needed change and to explore something new. So, Maiko took the plunge, leaving her teaching job and studied at Toihoukura for 2 years. This was the beginning of her creative journey and it was there that she discovered a love for painting.
A part of this journey has been exploring her own background as she knew very little about her mother’s heritage. You will notice that many of Maiko’s works reflect her research and learning about her Japanese ancestry. Inspirations have also been drawn from legends from the East Coast which is Maiko’s home town.
Erin grew up in Ohakune, in the central North Island. Her mother sent her to art classes with an established English landscape and portrait painter when she was ten. This is where Erin’s love for art started, followed by a focus on art at high school where she was influenced by New Zealand landscape artists. When Erin had her first child, she started a degree in Visual Art and Design (Maori) and went on to do a Graduate Diploma in Teaching. Erin has taught art classes and organised community exhibitions throughout the years and is now a Primary School Teacher in Gisborne.
Erin’s main medium is paint and pencil but she also enjoys creating relief art pieces as well as clay sculptures. She has been highly inspired by tutors at the Maori art school where she learnt that your whakapapa (ancestry) is important; to know who you are and where you have come from is a great part of finding who you are in life. Erin has incorporated this into her work alongside other stories that interest her. After completing her studies and becoming a fully registered teacher, Erin is exploring her interest in creating art and working with the community to inspire others within this area.