Renowned New Zealand artist Jimmy James Kouratoras is exhibiting his first solo show free-of-charge at the Saatchi & Saatchi Gallery in Auckland, from this Friday (22 February, 2013).
Kouratoras is the next in a line-up of unique exhibitions at Saatchi & Saatchi’s “not your ordinary gallery”, which opened last year as a creative hub to inspire staff and the public with interesting art and events.
A key inspiration behind Kouratoras’ paintings is the pou; the post that supports the mana and architecture of the Wharenui – the traditional Maori meeting house. Carved from native trees to represent the main ancestors of Maori people, the pou has many other rich layers of meaning, including the space between light and dark, a boundary marker, a fighting weapon and a way of denoting places of importance and reverence. The pou gives natural direction and guidance to living a life conducted by kotahitanga (unity).
Kouratoras uses the pou as a symbolic expression of people, and the energy that transfers between them and grows within themselves.
“Representing energy is what’s behind the work,” he says. Kouratoras’ art also explores the relationship that exists between mauri, the life force which exists in everything, and waiora, meaning health or soundness.
“I hope people that come to see my show are overwhelmed with the colour – I want them to be totally punched out,” says Kouratoras. “I’d like them to feel a lot of emotion and attach themselves to a painting.”
The Saatchi & Saatchi Gallery is the brainchild of Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand Executive Creative Director Antonio Navas. “Fresh and innovative ideas can only come from inspired minds so I wanted to create an inspirational place at the centre of the agency where our team is exposed to an ongoing stream of ideas from artists, performers and thinkers,” says Navas.
The gallery is reflective of the creative initiatives that Navas has been distilling through the agency since his appointment in April 2011.
“Our new creative process involves a deeper study of where art, humanity and sensibility collide within the context of the world we’re living in. This requires a collective spirit and an open learning environment to produce great ideas and opportunities.”
Where: Level 3, Saatchi & Saatchi Building. 123 The Strand, Parnell
When: 22 February – 28 March 2013
Open: 10:00am – 5:00pm, Monday – Friday (weekend appointments available on request)