Tony Bridge is a Māori artist (Te Rarawa, Ngati Wikitoria) from the Hokianga region of Northland, Aotearoa/New Zealand. His whakapapa (genealogy) traces back to an ancestor who arrived on the first voyage of the great Polynesian navigator, Kupe, around 975AD.
His work follows the ancient spiritual traditions of his people, taught to him by various tohunga (traditional healers), and the subject matter bases itself upon the unique world view of the Māori people.
He describes what he does as Whakairo Ma(a)rama, or carving with light.
Initial captures are made with a digital camera, but the carving is done digitally, using techniques he has developed himself.. Then the work is fixed in space and time using a high-end inkjet process and the finest cotton rag paper available.
" When I came home to Hokianga at the age of 61, I was following in the footsteps of my tupuna (ancestors), both genetic and artistic. Like them I came with a kete (basket) of expectations and prior knowledge, expecting to be able to employ it here. And, like them, I watched as Hokianga emptied that basket and filled it with her own kai (food)."
Whatungarongaro he tangata, toitu he whenua
People pass, but the land remains