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No. 5 (Spring 1953)
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Maui Snaring the Sun


Have Pakeha artists ever made serious attempts to study Maori art, and learn from the Maori artistic tradition? Have enough serious attempts been made to make adequate illustrations of Maori myths and stories? It is only natural that a great number of drawings and illustrations are being made in this country with Maori themes, but do the artists know enough about them?

This subject has worried the Association of New Zealand Art Societies. Last year they decided to award a two-year scholarship to Mr E. Mervyn Taylor to make a study of Polynesian art from the viewpoint of the practical artist who is looking for models to follow in his own work.

Mr Mervyn Taylor, a well-known artist, born in Wellington in 1906, whose work has appeared in Te Ao Hou, first became interested in Maori designs when he was art editor of School Publications (1944–6), and did several illustrations for a series of Maori legends which appeared in the School Journal. He has continued in his research ever since. The woodcut printed at the top of this page was done in 1949. Since Mr Taylor received the scholarship he has paid a visit to Te Kaha, where he studied the meeting-house and other works of art. He has increased his knowledge of Maori motifs and Maori subjects generally. His sketches of children of the Te Kaha school are reproduced on these pages.

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