Tania Niwa Photographer’s Maori heritage combined with a passionate interest in indigenous cultures and the native spirit of her subjects have seen her develop her mystical tribal portrait series over the past decade.
Tania Niwa continues to feed her passion by seeking new characters to capture for this ongoing photography series.
TANIA’S FINE ART PHOTOGRAPHY DEFINED: “Photographers who are able to draw inspiration and strength from their cultural heritage, and who have the talent to infuse their images with the style, character and lore of that ancestry, are indeed fortunate. Such is the case with Sydney based New Zealander Tania Niwa, who is one of the shining stars of contemporary photography. Not only has she established herself within the top echelon of Australian photographers in her field, she has also greatly impressed her North American contemporaries with powerful, earthy photographs that exude sensuality and incorporate a wonderful blend of documentary and slick design.” Excerpt from feature article by Peter Skinner for Rangefinder Magazine.
INFLUENCE: Tania has an inspirational mentor in New Zealand Darcy Nicholas. He is an international leading Maori Artist, sculptor & author. Darcy was one of Tania’s favourite Contemporary Maori Artists right back when she was 10 years old and was given a book by her parents on leading Maori artists. Although Darcy Nicholas was from Tania’s hometown of Waitara in Taranaki, NZ they had never met but Tania knew Darcy’s extended family very well.
As a result of Tania’s international success in photography in the USA back in 2006, she was asked to be a guest speaker in Wellington for a National Photography Event. Tania’s opportunity to try to seek a meeting with Darcy who was based in Wellington. The stars certainly aligned for Tania, as she bumped into Darcy and his wife Anne whilst visiting a Maori Exhibition opening with her parents and Darcy’s brother at Te Papa Museum. From here a great friendship with the Nicholas family began!
CONNECTING WITH ARTISTS: Darcy has exhibited Tania’s fine art portraiture at his Pataka Museum in Porirua, and also included her works in an International Maori Art Event at his Museum alongside leading Maori and Native American Artists, carvers, potters and sculptors. Tania was also invited to be a guest at a private exhibition of Darcy’s Maori Art Collection at the American Ambassador’s Residence in Wellington. As well as producing his own art, Darcy and his family are collectors or art, and have the most significant collection created by other Maori Artists in New Zealand. Tania was very excited to note that Darcy has an Picasso drawing, a Sydney Nolan painting amongst his collection at his home. What does this all mean? To Tania, connecting with people and being influenced, inspired and educated further is very fulfilling!
Here is what Darcy had to say about Tania’s Fine Art Portraiture, “Superb photography! I really appreciate working with such a passionate artist committed to their art and who has a strong work ethic. Tania has an eye for drama, capturing unlikely relationships between the main content and the background.”
At Tania’s first meeting with Darcy, she captured an impromptu set of portraits of the artist at his home studio. You can see Darcy’s portrait in Tania’s fine art portfolio to the right. He is shown holding his paint brush with one of his artworks in progress. He commented about the portraits Tania took by saying “This is the first time someone has revealed the close relationship between the features of people in my art and my own face.”
Through Darcy, Tania has had wonderful opportunities to be a part of and record important Maori Art Exhibitions in New Zealand. At these prestigious events she has been able to meet and photograph prolific Maori and Native American Artists which is wonderful soul food for any artist including Tania:-)
To read more about Tania see our profile page.