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Wendy Matenga - Aotearoa Artist
Wendy Matenga

Wendy Matenga - aotearoa artist

Raised in a renovated, nomadic bus traversing the pristine and often transient countryside of New Zealand, Wendy Matenga is no stranger to the great power of imagination and ingenuity. She reflects on her journey to become the artist she is today.

“Like many other artists, my childhood has greatly impacted on my creative being. My father is a very logical man and can make or fix anything with his ingrained Kiwi ingenuity, and Mum has always been a hard worker – always striving to make things look beautiful and homely, and provide the sense of stability despite our moving around so often. Whenever we ended up in the same paddock for a few months, my mum would always plant a flower garden. Once they had bloomed, we would spend hours putting them through a large press Dad had made.
“I think this is why my art has a mix of traditional and contemporary applications; I like the logic of making something look realistic, as well as the freedom of just letting go with shapes and colours. “Growing up on a bus, in a small community in Central Otago, most of my schooling was through correspondence, although I did spend my later teenage years attending Maniatoto High School. “Being an artist was a completely conscious decision. The single painting that has had more influence on me than anything else was from a Renaissance exhibition I went to as a child, and I couldn’t take my eyes off a painting of a lady in a blue dress. I learnt in that moment that you could have an emotional reaction to art; that a painting is different from a photo; and when I went home with my small postcard copy I realised that nothing beats seeing the real deal. “From then on, I had so many ways that I wanted to express myself creatively that it was almost overwhelming and, being a single mum, I didn’t have the funds to pursue them all. I did, however, try my hand at making and selling jewellery for a while, but eventually found myself becoming disinterested and it didn’t stick. I chose painting because I feel like I will never run out of inspiration and I relish every stage of the process.
Wendy Matenga

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