He Tangata, He Tangata; Arnold Wilson; 1956; 1992/33/1


He Tangata, He Tangata

About this object

The first Mäori honours graduate in sculpture from Auckland's Elam School of Fine Arts, Arnold Wilson was also the first of his generation to meld the traditional sculptural forms of his ancestors with western practice. Born in Te Urewera country, Wilson has said, 'I am the product of my parents, my extended family and the wise old ones of my people . . . Our culture is a store of inspiration for us'. Constantly exploring the disciplines of sculpture and pushing his work into new areas, Arnold Wilson draws on his Tühoe upbringing for the philosophical base of his work. This title comes from a whakataukï or Mäori proverb:Hütia te rito o te harakeke, kei hea te kömako e kö?Kï mai ki a au, 'He aha te mea nui i te ao?' Mäku e kï atu, 'He tängata, he tängata, he tängata'.If the heart of the flax is pulled out, where will the kömako sing?If you ask me what is most important in this world,I will reply, 'People, people, people'.During a long and distinguished career as an artist and art educator, Arnold Wilson has made an outstanding contribution to cross-cultural understanding in New Zealand. A founding member of Haerewa, the Gallery's Mäori Advisory Group, he is a respected kaumatua for the Gallery and its staff. (from The Guide, 2001)


Arnold Wilson

Maker Role


Date Made


Medium and Materials



1170 x 360 x 300mm

Subject and Association Description

carvings, identity, Maori, figures

Credit Line

Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, purchased 1993

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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