Genre: Contemporary Art

Country of Origin: New Zealand

Ralph Hotere (1931–2013; Te Aupōuri) was a painter, collaborative artist, sculptor and printmaker. Born near Mitimiti in Northland, he moved to Dunedin in 1952 after training initially as a teacher. A 1961 scholarship saw him move to London to study at the Central School of Art followed by travel in Europe. He returned to New Zealand in 1965. With the award of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in 1969 he settled again in Otago, an area he has been strongly associated with since.

Hotere’s work is dominated by black, both in colour and in title. Making extensive use of words – often quoting the work of well-known poets and his conversations with them – his paintings use a playfulness to convey political issues. Black Union Jack works (1981) question the Springbok Tour; Black rainbow protests the sinking of the Rainbow Warrior. Significant collaborations also include work with Bill Culbert, notably Pathway to the sea – Aramoana (1991).

In 1994 he was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Otago, 2003 saw an Icon Award from the Arts Foundation of New Zealand and in 2006 Ralph was awarded Te Taumata Award by Te Waka Toi recognising outstanding leadership and service to Māori arts.

Up until his death in 2013 he lived in Careys Bay, near Port Chalmers on the Otago Peninsula, with his wife, fellow artist Mary McFarlane.