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May 15, 2009

Maori Ancestor and Nikau Palm

Maori carving and nikau palm photo In working on the photos of the Sky Tower in Auckland that I posted last night I was trying to bring together some iconic imagery from New Zealand and also make a statement about how the casino, in using native Maori art in its decor and interior themes, provides a distraction to the fact that it is really all about gambling and separating us from our hard-earned money. Vegas, New Zealand style!

There are several things in New Zealand life and culture that are iconic references that occur again and again in New Zealand art. Of course the native Polynesian culture is number one, but in addition to that, the native plants and birds that are unique to New Zealand also loom large. In that list are the nikau palm, flax, the kiwi bird, and the cabbage tree, to name a few. So since I have a couple of nikau palms growing in my back yard (the only other place I have seen them growing in the U.S. is in Balboa Park in San Diego, by the way), I took a shot of one of them after work today, and then incorporated it into the artwork I'd already come up with last night in the Sky Tower pieces. (Here's the original photo of the nikau palm in my back yard).

Of course I first had to select out the nikau palm from the background which took a bit of "wrist-breaking" effort since my garden is very busy with greenery and there was no way I could take the photo with a flat background, (one of these days I'll get myself a Wacom Pen Tablet I guess), but I was able to do a decent enough job of it for works that were going to be kind of abstract anyhow. Then it was a matter of experimenting with various layers of the palm tree and the effects that came from different blending modes within Photoshop. I looked for modes that would let some of the motif on the right side combine with the palm so as to create an integrated effect.

So here you have my series of photos combining two powerful New Zealand images: Maori wood carving motifs and the nikau palm. Hopefully my friends and family in NZ will experience some sort of positive emotional response to these works, and maybe even my "Stateside" friends and family might get some sort of warm-fuzzy too.

OK, time to enjoy the weekend now and give my wrist a rest after selecting that nikau palm out from the background! Ahead are some photos from Zion National Park which I visited last weekend with some friends. Hope your weekend is going well. Thanks as always for checking in!

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