Sofia Minson is a portrait and landscape oil painter of mixed Ngati Porou, Swedish, English and Irish heritage. She works from her studio in Auckland.
Minson's contemporary Maori portraits have highlighted such creative individuals as Tiki Taane, Tame Iti, Ta Moko artist Turumakina Duley, our Kiwi Australian Idol Stan Walker, social anthropologist Dame Joan Metge, Travis Rapana and infamous Goldie art forger Karl Sim.
Since Lindauer and Goldie in the 19th century, there has been a surprising lack in the tradition of Maori oil portraiture. While Minson is inspired by their works, she says her contemporary Maori portraits “are far from Goldie’s recordings of a vanishing race” and are intended to fill an important niche for her generation. As an artist of mixed Maori and European whakapapa she uses the traditional Western medium of oil on canvas to show contemporary Maori as a vibrant and evolving people.
The other half of Minson’s interest lies in painting mythical, primordial landscapes and seascapes with ancient waka, inspired by the creation myths, voyaging histories and wairua of Aotearoa.
Born in Auckland in 1984, Sofia spent much of her childhood in Samoa, Sri Lanka and China due to her father's civil engineering work. On returning to New Zealand as a teenager, painting enabled her to reconnect with her homeland and her tupuna as well as celebrate the cultural and religious diversity that she had experienced overseas.
Since 2004 Sofia's works have been exhibited and collected in the USA, Europe and throughout New Zealand. She has won three national art awards and been a three-time finalist in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery's Adam Portraiture Awards.
"Maori art is inseparable from Maori culture. It is like a living organism that exists in the spirit of our people and drives them toward wider horizons and greater achievement."