Dawn/Water Poem; Hotere, Ralph; 86/50; 86/50


Dawn/Water Poem

About this object

Dawn/Water Poem brings together the work of two of New Zealand’s pre-eminent artists - painter Ralph Hotere and poet Bill Manhire. It was made at a time of strong protest against the French nuclear testing programme carried out on the Pacific atoll of Mururoa during the 1980s. Hotere has taken Manhire's poem of the same name and transformed it into a visual experience. The collaboration has produced a pointedly beautiful political statement. In nautical terms, an ‘x’ means ‘keep away’. To Manhire’s repeated word ‘sunrise’ Hotere has added ‘Mururoa’, using a vivid red to suggest apocalypse, anger and sacrifice. Hotere was born in the far north of New Zealand. He first studied art in Dunedin but in 1961 won a scholarship to study at the Central School of Art in London. He has subsequently won many awards. Since the 1970s he has lived at Port Chalmers, Dunedin. Political and social issues feature strongly in Hotere’s work.


Hotere, Ralph

Date Made


Credit Line

Collection Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu;

Object Type

Acrylic on canvas

Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

Pablo Picasso

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