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Sofia Minson

Artist 299

Sofia Minson



Sofia Minson (born 1984) is a contemporary New Zealand oil painter of Māori (Ngati Porou). She 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.

Munson grew up in living abroad and these experiences led to her becoming interested in the connections between diverse people, cultures and religions.

Her often large, finely detailed oil paintings depict the land, myths and people of New Zealand, combining aspects of realism and surrealism. She also celebrates Asian, Pacific, Western and African cultural diversity through portraiture.

Inspired by romantic portrayals of Māori faces from yesteryear, Sofia's Māori portrait paintings imagine them in a new light.

This time around, Māori are not being interpreted by a colonial painter, but by a Ngāti Porou artist depicting fellow contemporary Māori individuals.

Sofia often focuses on those who, like her, are helping create the cultural landscape of Aotearoa in the 21st century.

For Sofia, making art is about connecting our modern human experience with the cosmic wisdom of our ancestors.

“I weave together archetypal gods and symbols to help us navigate this changing earth. Through my art I explore seeds of truth that are common between traditions seemingly spread far and wide across time and space."

- Sofia Minson

With each brushstroke, Sofia explores powerful themes that are both deeply personal and profoundly universal; of Māori mythology, Mana Wāhine (Divine Feminine), and the mana (integrity) of generations past.

She notes there is a global shift in the acknowledgment of indigenous artists, healers, philosophers and communities. "These rising indigenous voices play a vital role as wisdom keepers and wayfarers in a dynamically changing world."

“With red hair and freckles and strong Māori spiritual roots, my whole life has been one of trying to assimilate contradictory parts of who I am. I’ve finally let go of the burden of being labelled. Painting has provided a pathway for self-discovery. It’s helped me to integrate Pacific, Eastern and Western cultures into my own model of reality."

- Sofia Minson

In the form of gods, goddesses and sacred geometry, Sofia's paintings infuse ancient wisdom from Western Esotericism, Hermeticism, Gnosticism, Buddhism, Hinduism, Kemetic (Egyptian) tradition as well as indigenous Māori culture, to name a few influences.

"Many of us are going through a de-colonisation and re-education process, incorporating a (thankfully) still living thread of indigenous lifeways that takes us beyond the false polarisation of religion vs reductive scientific materialism." - Sofia Minson

Sources Consulted


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