Emily Karaka

born 1952, Tāmaki Makaurau

Ngāpuhi (Ngāti Hine, Ngāti Kahu o Torongare), Waikato-Tainui (Ngāi Tai ki Tāmaki, Te Kawerau ā Maki, Ngāti Tamaoho, Te Ākitai Waiohua, Ngāti Rori-Te Ahiwaru, Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Tahinga)

Emily Karaka's paintings draw on diverse art-making traditions, including toi whakairo and abstract expressionism. Characterised by dazzling colour and emotional intensity, they frequently incorporate text and tie into the artist’s longstanding work advocating kaitiakitanga and tino rangatiratanga. Works are held by important Aotearoa institutions, such as Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, and the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Karaka recently produced major paintings for the 22nd Biennale of Sydney, NIRIN (2020), and the landmark exhibition Toi Tū Toi Ora: Contemporary Māori Art (2020–21).

'The issues that I’m always discussing are economic, social and environmental. And land rights tie back into the basis of justice in our country, the covenant of the country, the korowai of the country. So my imagery is cultural and traditional but it is also contemporary and futuristic.'
In the Mixing Bowl, 1977
Mixed media on hardboard
1200 x 2000mm
Private collection, Tāmaki Makaurau
Race Relations, 1986
Oil and mixed media on panel
2120 x 3600mm
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua, Whanganui
Te Uri o Te Ao, 1995
Oil on canvas
3005 x 3800mm
Collection of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
No Nukes, 2005
Oil on canvas
2130 x 1800mm
Collection of Auckland Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira
DODPNZ – Death of Democratic Process in New Zealand, 2020
Part of 22nd Biennale of Sydney: NIRIN, 2020
Art Gallery of New South Wales, Sydney
Photograph Zan Wimberley
CULTURAL ID; Marae, Maunga, Motu (installation view), 2020
Part of Toi Tū Toi Ora, 2020
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
Matariki Ring of Fire (installation view), 2022
Te Uru Waitākere Contemporary Gallery, Tāmaki Makaurau
Photograph by Samuel Hartnett, courtesy of Te Uru
DNA, 2022
Acrylic, oil and oil pastel on canvas
1830 x 1830mm
Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, Ōtautahi
Pepeha, 2021
Mixed media on canvas
1830 x 1830mm