Joe Kemp

Joe Kemp

What inspires your art practice?
For me it is the ability to be able to create a sculpture with the natural organic form of a tree and have the material help determine the final result once I have carved it.

I have always thought of myself as an artist from an early age. I first tried my hand at sculpting when I was 25 years old. I got hooked straight away and have been sculpting ever since. My inspiration comes from all my experiences in life as a Māori.

Carving feels genetic to me as I know it is the traditional way we record information about people, culture and Whakapapa. We are the storytellers of the now for our future generations to learn.

What materials do you work in?
NZ native timbers, hard and soft stone, steel

Describe your artwork for NZ Sculpture OnShore 2021
Made from Swamp Totara and Taranaki Andesite, Hinerau & Tanerau depict a modern take on Medieval war shields. They are forged into the rock to become Pou Whenua, they represent shields of protection against unforeseen forces and negative energies. Hinerau portrays Wahinetoa, the strength of 100 women. Tanerau depicts the strength of 100 men.

Te Wao O Tane is made from a swamp Totara log that was uplifted from the wetlands on the Hauraki Plains, depicting the Mauri from the ancient forest of Aotearoa. He comes from a time when giant Moa and Mokomoko roamed the land, when the birds filled the skies and orchestrated the sounds and harmonies of the old forest, when the mighty trees produced the purest oxygen. Weary of this new world order, he recites his Karakia.

Where are the public most likely to see your artworks outside of NZSOS?
Kura Gallery Wellington / Auckland; Art by the Sea Gallery, Takapuna; Te Haa Gallery, Lake Rotoma, Rotorua

Where did you study?

Sculptures by Joe Kemp

2018 Exhibition

NZ Sculpture OnShore Returns 2021

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