OWEN MAPP: Dragons & Taniwha – 50 Years an Artist Carver
27 May – 19 August 2018
Pātaka Art + Museum

‘There was no one before Owen Mapp’. It seems indisputable to attribute the revival of bone carving as an independent practice substantially to him… In Owen’s practice a sense of history is palpable, he’s consciously making works inspired from history for history.
Philip Clarke

Owen Mapp has been carving bone in Aotearoa New Zealand for 50 years. Before he started to carve in the late 1960s, bone was considered to be a secondary, less desirable medium for carving artists. Through Owen’s unwavering dedication to developing and refining the art of bone carving and sharing his technical skills with emerging carvers, he has played a vital part in its revival and the desirability of finely-carved bone today.

Pātaka’s major retrospective exhibition OWEN MAPP: Dragons & Taniwha – 50 Years an Artist Carver celebrates Owen’s ground-breaking achievements as the country’s first professional contemporary artist carver of bone and the important influence he has had on the many carvers who have followed him.

Owen Mapp began his career in earnest in 1970 and quickly established himself as one of the most prominent bone carvers alongside Donn Salt and Norman Clark. While drawing on both his own European heritage and Asian influences, Owen also embraced traditional Māori carving to create works of great beauty and diverse cultural significance. While he is not Māori himself, Mapp is highly regarded by many Māori artists for his exceptional ability to sculpt bone and semi-precious stone.

Works by Mapp have become the benchmark for excellence in modern bone carving and are highly sought after by museum curators and private collectors in New Zealand and internationally. Mapp continues to create new works and expand and share his knowledge through international workshops and teaching opportunities. There are very few artists in this country today who match his skill and technical expertise in the field of bone carving and small object sculpture.  He is quite literally New Zealand’s’ most eminent living artist in that field.


Owen Mapp talked to Lynn Freeman from RNZ recently about his work featured in his Pātaka exhibition Owen Mapp: Dragons & Taniwha – 50 Years an Artist Carver. Have a listen to the interview link below:


Exhibition opening photography courtesy of Mark Tantrum 2018


To help celebrate Owen’s exhibition, Pātaka designed and produced a publication in conjunction with the exhibition, available for sale at Pātaka’s Toi Store.



Click on the link to read the exhibition intro panel wall text: Owen Mapp exhibition wall text


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