Sofia Minson

The Heart of the Kaka



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About this artwork

The story of The Heart of the Kākā

Sofia’s inspiration for this piece came from the whakatauki (Māori proverb):

“Te tōrino haere whakamua, whakamuri.”

“At the same time as the spiral is going forward, it is returning”

The double spiral on the chest of the Kākā bird symbolises life’s journey forward, which ultimately takes us to the centre of ourselves.

As the ancient wisdom traditions say “as above, so below.” Just as mathematical fractal patterns unfold infinitely as we zoom in and out, the universe is a continual, expanding and deepening expression of the one force that binds everything together. It is the Source outpictured in infinite ways.

The intricate Victorian wallpaper in bronze is an introduced element to one of Sofia’s favourite pieces – her 2014 painting “The Kākā is Calling,” which had a pure black background. In this 2018 artwork “The Heart of the Kākā,” Sofia wanted to digitally create an ornate, antique quality with the floral background, to bring together ancient and modern. It now has a strong expression of past, present and future in one image.

The textured looking background is reminiscent of a fine garment. The Kākā has become a kaumatua (esteemed elder) full of mana (dignity), framed by a sense of history.  Different cultural traditions and aesthetics combine here with the use of both antique Western and ancient Māori patterns.

As a culture and as individuals our past is often rocky and complex, however this regal bird is unveiling its beauty and splendour, to remind us that with perspective, we can take the best of our past forward with us, to become more integrated, authentic people.

This painting consists of layer upon layer of washes of acrylic paint with intricate patterns of ink-like vinyl paint called flashe.

Once common throughout Aotearoa, our native parrot the Kākā is now found in limited numbers in a few forests in the central North and South Island. From stories of our Māori ancestors and those lucky enough to be close to the Kākā in recent times, we know that they are restless birds and one can hear their calls throughout the night. Any sign of dawn is noted by the brown and red parrot, who is awake and awaiting it. Its harsh cry will surely ring out through the realm of Tāne (the god of the forest). One can say “Kua tangi to Kākā” (the Kākā has cried) and know that Hine-ata, the Morning Maid, is at hand.

In painting this work with its intricately spiralling koru, Sofia was enjoying this sense of dawn and new beginnings.  The fern leaves and Māori designs are also joined by a Mandala at the Kākā’s heart centre for the purpose of establishing a sacred space.  Mandala, which translates as ‘circle’, is a spiritual and ritual symbol in Hinduism and Buddhism, representing the Universe.

Additional Information

All limited edition prints are signed, numbered and titled by the artist.

Regular archival paper: 545 x 880mm paper size, 495 x 805mm image size, limited edition of 275

Large archival paper: 790 x 1240mm paper size, 710 x 1150mm image size, limited edition of 195

Extra Large museum canvas print – 1361 x 840mm image size, limited edition of 175

Artist bio

From her studio in Auckland, New Zealand, Sofia Minson paints bold, soulful, finely detailed portraits, landscapes and surreal oil works. She is inspired by the land, myths and people of Aotearoa (NZ) as well as the unity she sees amongst richly diverse cultures from around the world.

For 13 years Minson’s paintings have been exhibited and collected globally. The artist is inspired by her mixed Ngati Porou Maori, Swedish, English and Irish heritage as well as the taonga (treasure) that are Aotearoa’s people, land, forests and birds.

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