New Zealand artist Jimmy James Kouratoras is exhibiting his first solo show free-of-charge at the Saatchi & Saatchi Gallery in Auckland.
Kouratoras is the next in a line-up of unique exhibitions at Saatchi & Saatchi's "not your ordinary gallery", which opened last year as a creative hub to inspire staff and the public with interesting art and events.
A key inspiration behind Kouratoras' paintings is the pou; the post that supports the mana and architecture of the Wharenui - the traditional Maori meeting house. Carved from native trees to represent the main ancestors of Maori people, the pou has many other rich layers of meaning, including the space between light and dark, a boundary marker, a fighting weapon and a way of denoting places of importance and reverence. The pou gives natural direction and guidance to living a life conducted by kotahitanga (unity).
Kouratoras uses the pou as a symbolic expression of people, and the energy that transfers between them and grows within themselves.
"Representing energy is what's behind the work," he says. Kouratoras' art also explores the relationship that exists between mauri, the life force which exists in everything, and waiora, meaning health or soundness.
"I hope people that come to see my show are overwhelmed with the colour - I want them to be totally punched out," says Kouratoras. "I'd like them to feel a lot of emotion and attach themselves to a painting."