Blenhiem New Zealand
Through the whole process of finding my place as an artist, I have found the Christian pursuit of inner truth to be the key that unlocks true identity. Thus my faith is an integral part of my work. I see creativity as something that is given by the divine creator. My Tupuna understood the arts to be a tapu gift that originally came down from heaven. My work then is a search that is in one sense upward (towards heaven) and inward (towards my humanity). Painting is a discovery of self that is personal and deeply spiritual. To paint is to be in a place where I am aware of the presence of my creator and I am aware of the need to articulate what I can only describe at times as groans - feelings, concerns, intuitions, memories. I bring myself, my memories, I bring my broken humanity, I bring physical paint and brushes and I journey on paper and canvas to the place that is unburdened, released, washed, resolved in the presence of God. To me, artists in the world around them, articulate the inner groanings of a voiceless humanity and mediate divine insights from another world.”
Andrew Panoho was born in Auckland in 1965 and grew up in the Northland town of Dargaville. His parents separated in 1973. The relative stable cultural milieu of NZ provincial town life the 1970's and the close ties of his extended family moderated those early painful years. There in the far North he discovered a latent talent for drawing / creating and began to develop his drafting skills. Eventually, the family moved to Auckland to further the children's education.
At the age of 17, the artist took part in his first group show in 1983 at The Sargeant Gallery Wanganui. That group exhibition opened opportunities in both public and dealer galleries exposing him to the Maori Artist group - Nga Puna Waihanga. This period stimulated Panoho's research of the Maori Meeting House. His Masters dissertation concluded his studies at Elim School of Fine Arts at Auckland University and gave form to his first solo exhibition 'Te Poho o Ihu Karaiti' (i.e. The Body / Meeting House of Jesus Christ) which was then selected to represent New Zealand in the Memphis in May festival 1991, in Tennessee USA. Following on from his American travels he based his studio in Southwark, London, England. There he took up residence in a warehouse provided by R.K. Burt and Sons.
After 9 years travelling, working and exhibiting in London, Panoho returned to NZ with his English wife, to bring-up his growing family. In 2007 he completed his Blenheim studio and has continued working as an artist: painter/teacher, songwriter/composer ever since.