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ISRAEL BIRCH

"I pull all that I can into my work. I am inspired by everything from swimming to listening to music to watching my two daughters painting. Life should be inspiring."

ISRAEL BIRCH

Israel Birch (Ngapuhi, Ngai Tawake, Ngati Kahungunu, Ngati Rakaipaaka) is considered one of New Zealand’s most talented young Maori artists. His work is identified by his unique practice of painting with light. He achieves the highly polished surfaces by applying multiple layers of pigment and lacquer over ground and etched stainless steel.
 


Ara-i-te-uru, 2011, a spray lacquered stainless steel installation
City Gallery Wellington in 2011-12.



Israel earned a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the Eastern Institute of Technology, Napier and a Masters in Maori Visual Arts at Massey University’s School of Maori Studies, Te Putahi-a-Toi. He is a lecturer at Te Putahi-a-Toi, in the Bachelor of Maori Visual Arts programme, and is a full-time practicing artist.

 

Israel’s father was a master carver and as a youngster, he was exposed to artwork created by carvers and weavers. While inspired by the master carvers and weavers, Israel also finds inspiration from contemporary Maori artists such as Sandy Adsett, Ralph Hotere, Robert Jahnke and Shane Cotton (to name a few), and also non-Maori artists such as Anish Kapoor, and Van Gogh. The students of Te Putahi-a-Toi who are the next wave of Maori art also inspire Israel. He admires those who try their best, are open to learning and believe in the sharing of knowledge with no strings attached.


Israel has had solo and group exhibitions throughout New Zealand and in Australia, Canada and Europe.
 

"There isn't one reason why Palmerston North is a great place for art, but with many relationships crossing and growing it is definitely a city with a strong cultural point of view. The teachers college had a great effect on the creation of art teachers who left a legacy of work here. Te Manawa supports the art schools and great artists of the past such as John Bevan Ford have given us a space to be who we are and express our position  as creative people."

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