Star Gossage (b. 1973) is of Ngati Manuhiri/Wai, Ngati Ruanui, French, English and Portuguese descent. She gained a Diploma of Fine Arts from Otago Polytechnic School of Art in 1995 and, alongside painting, her practice includes theatre, film-making, poetry and sculpture.

Gossage's ancestral land and family home is at Pakiri Beach north of Auckland. It is her turangawaewae; her physical, emotional and spiritual home. Her colour palette refers to the elemental forces of earth, sea and sky and her paints are often mixed with local clay, dirt, and lime to achieve the hues and textures she requires.

Kikorangi Kotare / Kingfisher Blue’ 2014 installation, Tim Melville Gallery. Photo: Kallan MacLeod

The figures that inhabit Gossage's work are compositions of whanau and whakapapa. Gossage explains: "I want [my figures] more like spirits than humans. I just want the essence of things rather than straight paintings of people." As Mark Amery writes: "Star Gossage paints ghosts; beautiful faces from dreams, angel-like apparitions imbued with collected memory and ancestry ... there's no innocence in the eyes of figures; they feel soaked in both love and sadness, like weathered posts standing tall. The pupils of the eyes bore through you, as if demanding that their stories be remembered."

Gossage's painting style references European movements such as expressionism, impressionism and surrealism but it is Maori knowledge systems that are most deeply embedded in her work. "I believe in Maori ways, the ways I suppose I've been taught by my own family, and I believe you don't have to explain you're Maori, you just are. In whatever you do it comes out anyway."

Gossage's work is held in collections including Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, Te Papa Tongarewa Museum of New Zealand, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, James Wallace Arts Trust and University of Auckland. Star Gossage is a 2014 Arts Foundation New Generation Award recipient.

 

‘Five Maori Painters’ 2014 installation, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki

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