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Priscilla Cowie

Shared Lines: Wellington exhibiting artist


Ngāi Tahu, Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Kahu.
Priscilla was born and raised in Te Waipounamu, the South Island of New Zealand. Priscilla Cowie works as a painter, sculptor and designer – Māori culture is the backbone of her art practice. Priscilla has completed several public art commissions, for Te Rūnanga ō Ngāi Tahu, honouring tuna (eels) her most recent steel sculpture “Kirihao – Resilience” is situated at the Pita Te Hori Centre, Christchurch, New Zealand. Priscilla also created seven bronze eels for “Te Hononga,” the Christchurch Civic building. In 2013, Priscilla designed shade sails, that are now installed in a Māori garden, at Les Jardins de Fruitiers de Laquenexy, near Metz, France. In 2014, thanks to the generous support from Creative New Zealand Priscilla was able to participate in the Artists in Residence – Vallauris, France. In 2015 Priscilla was mentored by Marian Fountain to create bronze medals, in Paris, France. Priscilla further completed integrated art designs at Tākaro ā Poi, Margret Mahy Family Park, Christchurch, New Zealand. Priscilla is a graduate of the University of Canterbury, School of Fine Arts, New Zealand. She has extended her art practice by attending International Indigenous Artist Gatherings.

Kirihao is a turn of phrase used to indicate when someone is “thick skinned” or tenacious like our hao (longfin eel). Kirihao also means to be resilient. A sculpture that I worked on recently titled “Kirihao – Resilience”, in Ōtautahi, Christchurch, offers people the opportunity to be inspired by the tenacity of hao to survive in polluted waters. Like the hao we are able to continue to move explore and create through times of adversity.

Hao, are highly valued within Ngāi Tahu culture, as a taonga and a source of kai.

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