Ngā Kaihanga Uku: Māori Clay Artists by Baye Riddell

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Ngā Kaihanga Uku: Māori Clay Artists by Baye Riddell, photography by Norm Heke

A celebration of the revival and mana of Māori ceramic art.

The rise of an impressive ceramics movement is one of the more striking developments in contemporary Māori art. Clay working and pottery firing was an ancient Pacific practice, but the knowledge had largely been lost by the ancestors of Māori before they arrived in Aotearoa. After the national clayworkers’ collective, Ngā Kaihanga Uku, was established in 1987, traditional ancestral knowledge and customs and connections with indigenous cultures with unbroken ceramic traditions helped shape a contemporary Māori expression in clay.

This book is the first comprehensive overview of Māori clay work, its origins, loss, and revival. Richly illustrated, it introduces readers to the practices of the five founders of Ngā Kaihanga Uku and also surveys the work of the next generation.

About the author: Baye Pewhairangi Riddell (Ngāti Porou and Te Whānau-a-Ruataupare) became a full-time potter in 1974, the first Māori artist to commit to this profession. In 1986, with Manos Nathan, he was a co-founder of Ngā Kaihanga Uku, the national Māori clayworkers’ collective. In 1989 he and Nathan were awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to establish an exchange with Native American artists. He was awarded the Creative New Zealand Craft/Object Fellowship in 2011.

Hardback, 256 pages, published October 2023.

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