[Dad] is a tough act to follow. (Anthony Wilson about his father Arnold)
In this episode of Cultural Icons curator of maori art, Ngahiraka Mason speaks to Anthony Wilson about the life and works of his late father Arnold Manaaki Wilson. This warm and insightful discussion covers a range of topics including: a brief exploration of Arnold’s often difficult childhood, his arrival at Elam art school where he became the first Maori to graduate with a Diploma in Fine Arts with first class honours in sculpture, and his work to establish a marae on Auckland’s North Shore.
Anthony discusses the importance of family, both for his father as he tried to re-connect with his roots in Ruatoki, as well as for himself, as he came to understand the responsibility placed upon him by a long lineage of leaders.
We hear about Arnold and Anthony’s involvement with the Awataha Marae and how their passionate attempts to bridge cultures and bring a creative element to their work there has made the marae a pivotal part of that community.
Anthony delves into the process of creating, with his father, a large architectural installation commission for the Auckland Art Gallery and the lessons learnt, about the role of art and artists as a catalysts for transcendence, and bringing together disparate elements of society.
With a penchant for anecdotes and the retelling of the lessons that Arnold passed to his son we get a glimpse of the life and mind of one of New Zealand’s most iconic Maori artists.