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The Ever-popular Michael Angelo Returns To Taupō Museum

Manawatū artist Michael Angelo tackles his work with just one goal in mind; to make people smile.

Known for his colourful, three-dimensional carved paintings of native trees and birds, Angelo is holding his latest exhibition Heart in Nature at the Taupō Museum from 13 April to 3 June.

Michael and his recent work

"Carving is part of my Māori heritage,” he says.

“I don’t plan my carvings and painting, the inspiration just comes from my soul, guided by the spiritual aspects of nature. The happiest memories of my childhood were playing in the trees, surrounded by the birds, flowers, all living things and how light and colour influenced my world.

“My maternal grandfather Pani Paora was Māori, of Ngāti Wharekōkōwai, Ngāti Kahungunu and Tūhoe descent. He was a talented artist, poet and a very creative man.”

Angelo honed his craft at The Learning Connexion in Wellington and Lower Hutt, graduating with a Diploma in Art and Creativity with Honours.

“In 1999, I met Tony Kāpua at Te Papaiouru Marae, in Ohinemutu, Rotorua where my mother grew up with her Arawa whānau.

“After watching Tony carving for about an hour he invited me to try it. He drew a pattern on a piece of rimu, gave me a chisel and mallet and said ‘carve this’. Although I had never done anything like this before he was so surprised at how well I had done and he said to me ‘Don’t put the tools down!’.

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“He said I had a natural talent and most of his students would take months to achieve what I had in less than an hour.”

Angelo then spent six months training at Mihiroa Marae in Pakipaki, learning from master carver Tūhoe Huata. He also worked with Te Maru Marsh at Te Poho-o-Tangiianui Marae in Napier.

“In this time I learnt the significance of the tribal patterns and styles of different iwi and master carvers. I now carve in my own unique style which enables me to combine my fascination with carving and colour.”

Heart in Nature is being held in the Main Gallery at Taupō Museum from 13 April to 3 June. An artist talk will be held at 11am on Saturday 13 April. Taupō Museum is open from 10am to 4.30pm daily and entry is free for Taupō District residents with proof of address.

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