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Revolution Aotearoa

Todd Couper - Contemporary Maori Art 2023 Calendar

Todd Couper - Contemporary Maori Art 2023 Calendar

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13 high-quality photographic images featuring stunning, world-class works by the super-talented and inspiring Todd Couper.

Born in Wairoa 1974 Todd is of Rongomaiwahine, Ngati Kahungunu
descent. His passion for art was ignited from a very early age having been
influenced by his Dads drawings, his Nans paintings and the carvings and
kowhaiwhai patterns that adorned some of the Wharenui in Wairoa.

In 1987 Todd attended Te Aute College in Central Hawkes Bay where he began
focusing on his art and so in 1992 after completing Bursary level art he then
furthered his studies at Waiariki Polytechnic in Rotorua. This is where he was
introduced to whakairo (wood carving) and quickly found that this was something he
had to pursue”.

It was in Todd’s final year of study where he met Roi Toia who was then the carving
tutor. After graduating in 1995 Roi invited Todd to work alongside him in his
workshop. Initially under Roi’s guidance Todd would later develop his own style of
carving. Over the 17 years of working together they became known for their
particular style of contemporary whakairo, emphasising precision of form line and

In 2012 Todd and his family moved to Brisbane, Australia where he spent twelve
months as ‘Artist in Residence’ at Southbank Institute of Technology. He had the
privilege of mentoring some of the top graduating students, passing on his
knowledge and experience of living as an artist. For Todd this was just as important
as it was satisfying to be able to support and encourage young emerging artists.

Todd has now been a full time artist for 25 years mastering in the art of wood carving
with over 400 works being held in private collections throughout the world.

“My work in its form and meaning honours the ancient art of Whakairo (traditional
Maori carving) with honesty, integrity and precision, capturing the essence of
traditional values and beliefs that are bound with personal experiences and
influences thus creating a more contemporary aesthetic.”

“If I had any words of advice for our artistic rangatahi (younger generation) it would
be to draw and sketch more. Drawing is often the first important step in translating a
concept or idea by bringing it into a physical dimension. It’s like the basic underlying
language of art that transcends all nationalities and cultures. Therefore the more
you practice and better you become the more your art will visually speak.”

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