Inspired by experience
The countdown to Aotearoa New Zealand's favourite art show has begun and this year contemporary painter Dayna Chaffey is the sole artist carrying the torch for Tairāwhiti.
Her artwork fuses traditional Māori elements with street style and will be displayed at the NZ Art Show at TSB Arena in Wellington next month.
“It's a strange but special feeling to be representing my region,” she says.
Her paintings have adorned the walls at galleries in Wellington, Coromandel and in Gisborne at Miharo, which closed its doors last year due to Covid-19.
A tiki figure features as a recurrent motif in her work.
Mrs Chaffey breathes life into her paintings by using bold colours and takes inspiration from pop artist Andy Warhol.
“ I just love using bright colours. It's something that comes from being a fashion lover.”
She credits her “jazzy fusion artwork” idea to her Māori and English descent, which is the inspiration behind combining styles of both worlds and “letting aspects of both sides collide to form my own style”.
“I have always liked street art, doing graffiti and Māori art. I'm not really someone who works with perfect lines or symmetry, I take more of a freestyle approach.
“Sometimes when I start a piece it doesn't turn out the way I expect it to and then I have to improvise.”
Mrs Chaffey says her paintings are a way to capture the essence of new experiences.
For example, her Hei Tiki painting, Wilson, came from the idea of isolation.
Back in 2020, when she was found to be a close contact of someone with Covid-19, Mrs Chaffey was compelled to stay away from her family for about a week.
“It's quite hard when you have five kids and a family who you can't interact with in person. So I created Wilson to be a friend.”
Her love of art started in her youth.
Following her passion, she attended a design school at Massey University in Wellington, but decided to switch to teaching to give herself more time with her kids.
When she was given the opportunity to display her art at Miharo a couple of years ago, it “rekindled her fire”.
“The NZ Art Show will provide wider exposure and a network to meet other artists of Aotearoa. To actually sell some pieces would be an added extra.”
NZ Art Show is on at TSB Arena, Wellington, June 3—5. Tickets are available from artshow.co.nz