Sunday, 9 October 2016

A drawing from the past

Quite a few years ago I made this charcoal drawing of a Maori lady I met in Picton on the top of the South Island. 
Her story was remarkable.
I don't know her name anymore and she never saw this drawing.
Together with her son she owned a little tourist shop and when I walked in I was straight away captured by her presence, her aura of wisdom and grace. In Maori language this is called "Mana".

I approached her and told her she looked beautiful.
She had a moko tattooed on her chin and I asked her if I could take a photograph of her, so I could later sketch her.
She agreed to the photograph and then she told me her story:

"I was married to a Pakeha man [meaning white man] for many years, but then I had an horrendous accident and nearly died. I still have a scar on my forehead from this accident.
I decided that when I would live, I would have a moko tattooed on my face, because I was given another chance of life.
I lived and recovered from the accident and got a moko.
My husband didn't like it and he told me he couldn't wake up every morning next to me and look at the moko on my face, so he left me.
But I know that I had to be true to myself for what  I believed in and to this day I never regretted my decision".

I really admired her to do what was right for her and a few weeks later I did the charcoal drawing of her.
She was one of those people you meet on your way for a just a moment in time, but as a gift of wisdom.
I am part of Sunday Sketches.


  1. You have really captured the charm and courage of this lady. Beautifully done

  2. Wow what a striking piece of art. Her story is touching and encouraging to stay true to yourself. I love your post.

    1. Thank you Nicole, yes I think she was very brave, because having a moko tattooed on your face is a statement for yourself and the outside world.

  3. Beautiful portrait, and an interesting story to it.

  4. This is really an impressing drawing of a portrait of an impressing lady. I have never seen a tatoo in the face of a person before.

    1. In New Zealand the Maori people used the moko or face tattoo in the past as a sign of respect and a treasure and the tattoo was chiseled into the skin,nowadays the patterns are tattooed with ink.

  5. wow, that is a very interesting story. What courage she had to stand up to what she believed, even as it costs her marriage.... you did a great job portraying her...

  6. That is a cool story. It's nice that you got a small glimpse into some of the local culture.

  7. Lovely post and wonderful portrait work ~ thanks ^_^

    Wishing you a special week ~ ^_^

  8. Lovely sketch and what a great story! I understand what you mean and it is an experience you will always remember too. :)

  9. Wonderful sketch, and such a beautiful and Powerful story ~ thank you so much for sharing it with us.

  10. its a lovely sketch and a story that starts out sad but turns out in the end

    moko is such a part of Maori culture, how can you be married to a Maori and not realize this, daft man

    (sorry for the late Sunday Sketches comment, so busy with uni)


Thank you for leaving a comment