Wednesday, January 4, 2012


One of my favourite artistic symbols is the sun... I have an affinity with the sun and all it represents in terms of life, light and learning. I was born on the sunshine coast of New Zealand (Tairawhiti) and spent my childhood within a stones throw of Te Urunga o te Ra (the rising sun). The Maoriboy logo is Tamanuitera (Sun)... and my art is focused on the Te Ao Marama (the world of light).Obviously it is important to me and important to my culture. The origins of this land are linked to the sun and the story of Maui and his great fish. When Maui hauled his huge catch toward the surface... the first point of land to brake through and see the sun was the summit of Hikurangi. Ever since then the symbolism of being first to see the light is repeated each and every morning. As the sun rises... the first point of land to see sunlight is Hikurangi... and despite Samoa and Rarotonga re-positioning the dateline, for us that fact does not change anything... and our cultural understanding remains intact. 

As I said the Maoriboy logo is Tamanuitera - the sun - and represents Te Urunga-o-te-Ra or the rising of the sun. Its also about light, knowledge and life... as far as we are concerned all knowledge comes from this light and all light enters this world via Te Urunga-o-te-Ra... thus creating the world of light... the world of understanding... A world that turns forever (or as we say...Te Ao Hurihuri). My basic philosophy in life is "Ka huri te Ao, ka huri ahau" (The world turns, I turn with it)... it's about progress and moving forward.

Other Maori artists like Derek Lardelli, Sandy Adsett and James Webster have also drawn on the power of the sun, the light and knowledge... to create their own fantastic representations of Tamanuitera, as can be seen above. Ka mau te wehi these are inspirational peices that illustrate our collective pride and passion (nga mihi ki nga ringa tohunga)...
All over the world the ancient cultures of man knew the sun was central to all life and reveered it as a symbol of power and spiritual energy. Below are a small collection of artworks and symbols from all around the world to show how important the sun is to all cultures. From Apollo and Belenus to Surya to Kinich Ahau to Shen Yi to Tonatiuh to Viracocha... as far back as the Egyptian god Ra and beyond... for well over 5000 years (over 4000 years before Maori arrived in Aotearoa) man has worshipped the sun... and I find it fascinating... have a look

Since the beginning of human existence, civilisations have established religious beliefs that involved the Sun's significance to some extent or other. As new civilisations developed many spiritual beliefs were based on those from the past so that there has been an evolution of the sun's significance throughout cultural development. Even as late as the 17th century the development of tarot cards for fortune telling included a card that represents the Sun's influence on the life of man.
If we examine history we see that the religious beliefs of the very first civilisation, the Sumerians, weren't totally focussed on sun worship but they did have a Sun god. While the Sumerian's Sun god wasn't the most powerful deity in their culture it initiated the development of future Sun worship. Over the centuries the Sumerian Sun god's influence grew while other god's influence diminished.
By the time the Egyptian civilisation was at its peak, the Sun god had reached a supreme position. However, Sun worship reached its height and most involved form with the Aztec, Maya, and Inca civilisations of South America. The Inca culture was totally based on worship of the Sun.


Korimako said...

Choice, bro! I really enjoy these comparative posts.

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