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Although Thomas is not of Maori descent, the artworks he creates are so important for the Maori people, that he is well renowned and respected in the Maori community. Through his beautiful paintings he has given shape to the Maori awareness in general.
I am truly honored that I may call myself his agent for The Netherlands and that he also wants to work with me and help me introduce Maori art to the Netherlands.
I think the Maori people depicted in his paintings come very much to life and are captured very realistically but entwined with a great sense of wairua (spirit) and mana (power).
Thomas Scicli Lauterbach lives and works in the Bay of Islands, New Zealand. After having studied painting in Germany, he was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree. He has been a New Zealand citizen since 1985. Since 1990 his work focuses on the Maori people of Aotearoa (New Zealand). His paintings are strong images of today's life of the Tangata Whenua (the people of the land). The focus of his work is the life and the philosophy of the Maori people.
Exhibitions : New Zealand, Germany, Cook Islands, New Caledonia and also in Rotterdam, The Netherlands where he has participated in my exhibition MAORI ART in Hilton Rotterdam see MAORI ART as well as in my current semi permanent gallery-exhibition in The Groothandelsgebouw at Rotterdam.
A portrait was broadcasted on VOX TV Germany.
Interviews on the Air NZ in flight program and nationwide in Germany on ARD.
A champion for indigenous peoples rights with a passion to restore the mana of Maoridom - that's what Thomas Lauterbach, one of New Zealand's gifted artists does through his works. Paintings of vivid colours and designs reflect the bitter sweet existence of a people trying to maintain its culture in a changing world. Through these paintings, Thomas speaks of the need to bridge the barriers posing the great divide between New Zealand Maoris and Pakehas.
Thomas is of German origin, having found his way to the land of the long white cloud back in 1983. I fell in love with New Zealand, he says simply. In retrospect it was a spiritual calling for me.
His passion for Maori culture is something that drives him to help bring about more understanding and appreciation of the Maori people. The Maoris are often misunderstood but there has got to be a time of healing and creating a better understanding between the two races, he said.
His paintings as such have an interesting commonality in that a lot of the subjects are painted with their backs to the viewer. Its a mark of respect in Maori culture, Thomas explains - respect for the person and for the culture. Which of course is different in European culture - where you look at a person in the face otherwise you're considered rude.
I am passionate about reflecting on the world of the Maori in my paintings. My favourite technique is a combination of eggtempera and oil on canvas.
Thomas does a lot of impressionism, being largely influenced by Van Gogh and Gauguin. They were my spiritual fathers, he says.
Why the interest in Maori culture? Thomas believes being an outsider has given him a sympathetic view of both sides. Maybe not being born in New Zealand, I'm more aware of what is going on. And a lot of it has to do with the Maori people having a lot of passion about their land, their cultural heritage, and a strong sense of belonging he says.
In recent years my works became more complex. Learning Te Reo, studying history and Tikanga Maori created the framework.
Living close to the trees and birds, and listening to the spirits of Papatuanuku ( Mother Earth) became very much part of my life. The wairua behind the things we see, smell and hear, past and presence started tp reveal itself.
My paintings started to tell stories rather than just depicting objects. I never search for stories, I find them.
Sometimes I feel the strong urge to paint them. It became even more important now to proceed slowly, with care. Every painting is a new revelation for me.
I am most grateful to the many Maori people who helped me along the path, supported me, encouraged me and shared with me.
Without them, these paintings would never have been done. Sometimes I meet resistance. I do not brush it off, for there are many things I am still ignorant about. Being open to learn is the creative force behind culture.
I thoroughly enjoy the benefits of living in this bicultural world of Aotearoa. It enriches my Pakeha upbringing with the mysteries and philosophy of the Maori world.
Thomas Scicli Lauterbach
Here underneath you will find some of the many works Thomas has created.
They will give you an example of the beauty of the paintings he is capable of creating.
Click on a thumbnail to see the full sized picture and art-description as well as Maori symbolic meaning.
For information about commissioned work by Thomas Lauterbach, or non committal quotes for possible orders regarding the prints as well as original paintings feel free to use firstname.lastname@example.org.