Auckland Art Fair 2019



Robert Jahnke
b. 1951 of Ngai Taharora, Te Whanau a Iretekura, Te Whanau a Rakiroa o Ngati Porou decent

Whenua Kore, alternatively known as ‘ground or surface zero’, is a parody on a term most associated with the epi-centre of intense activity or change. It is also used in relation to natural disasters and epidemics to mark the locus of destruction and damage. It is used in this instance to mark a centre of change where land that was once owned by Maori is no longer under Maori ownership. 

At the centre of the Whenua Kore sculpture is an illuminated round neon located within a circular drum of mirrors that create the illusion of a reection of the circle that appears to reduce in size and to disappear into a black void much like the concentric circles of a bullseye. 

People are encouraged to physically engage with the sculpture, to sit, or move around the neon on the cylindrical platform and even walk over the illuminated neon drum; over the epi-entre or the bullseye that marks an area of land in which Maori have zero interest; the land on which the sculpture is located.


Robert Jahnke’s work champions modern Maori art and uses it to highlight important cultural issues. His works focus on peoples’ differing perceptions of reality according to historical facts and circumstance. 

His works are defined through their questioning and challenging of the established Eurocentric narration of New Zealand’s history; he promotes and champions the Maori experience within his considered contemporary metaphor.

Robert “Bob” Jahnke is an artist whose practice over the years has straddled design, illustration, animation and sculpture. Since his solo exhibition in 1990, Jahnke has maintained his practice as a sculptor with a number of commissions and exhibitions including the Ranginui Door at the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Spinning Top at Woodward Street in Wellington, Maui pou ASB Waterfont Theatre Auckland, Twin Hulls at the University of Auckland Tamaki Campus, Waharoa and entrance for Mana Tamariki with Tennet and Brown Architects and concrete relief panels for St. Brigid’s church in Feilding. Recently his practice has included painting and neon installation.

Jahnke is represented in a number of major collections including The Art Gallery of New South Wales [AGNSW} Sydney, Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland City Art Gallery, The Chartwell Trust, Wallace Arts Trust, The Parkin Collection, Dame Jenny Gibbs, and Kevin Roberts among others.

List of works

Large sculpture: 

«Whenua Kore (The Minimalist Drum)», 2019,
Lacquer, mild steel, powder coated aluminium,
neon, mirror pane, mirror, laminated glass, toughened
glass, electricity, 153.5 (Dia) × 25cm (H), $40,000

Small sculptures:

«Kore whero (red), Kore ma (white), Kore 
kahurangi (blue)», 2019, Lacquer, wood, MDF,
neon, mirror pane, mirror, electricity, 
36.4 × 36.4 × 23cm, $17,000 set / $5,750 ea.

«Kore whero (red), Kore kahurangi (blue), 
kore kowhai (yellow)», 2019, Lacquer, wood,
MDF, neon, mirror pane, mirror, electricity,
36.4 × 36.4 × 23cm, $17,000 set / $5,750 ea.

James Ormsby
b. 1957 of Ngati Manipoto, Waikato, Te Arawa, Katimana (Scotsman) decent

“Drawing is the medium which has been the blood of my life. I felt very strongly that I had ancestors. I wanted to pit myself against the past and I also wanted to go forward. I wanted to use objects… but I also yearned to have my feet in historical drawing.” – Jim Dine, 2003

These drawings, bear an imprint of the artist in a way no digital object ever can. They contain history - his and others. They map – or retain a sense of self and a measure our time and things we often miss as we rush frantically into the future.


James Ormsby is a recognised national artist who has over 20 years of Visual Art practice in New Zealand & overseas including 20 solo shows and over 80 group exhibitions. He has received two major Creative NZ Grants for practice-based research at University of Oxford (UK), and resulting exhibitions in London, Melbourne and Auckland.

Ormsby has a “Bachelor of Education (Visual Art)”(The University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 1990), and a “Master of Fine Art” (The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology University, Victoria, Australia (2002). His work can be found in numerous collections including: Te Papa Tongawera, The Wallace Trust Art Collection, Auckland City Art Collection, The Waikato Museum of Art and History, The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand, The University of Melbourne, (Victoria, Australia), and private collections throughout New Zealand and overseas including The Benetton Collection (Geneva, Switzerland).

Drawing is a passion for James Ormsby. He describes it as his art as language in an era when artists are increasingly experimenting with new technology. He carries out a huge amount of historical research and questions the signifcance of the visual symbols his ancestors chose to depict. 

List of works

Large drawings: 

«A (te A), LD #26», 2018, Graphite, Poly-
chromos pencil, silver, gold on paper, 
258 (H) × 150cm (W) paper/ 267.5 × 159.5cm 
framed, $35,000

«B (en rouge), LD #27», 2019, Graphite, 
pigment, wax and studio dust on paper, 
258 (H) × 150cm (W) paper/ 267.5 × 159.5cm 
framed, $35,000

Small drawings:

«Ariki Series #3 (en rouge)», 2018, Graphite,
pigment, wax, and studio dust on paper,
78 (H) × 58 (W) paper/ 84 × 68cm, $7,000

«Ariki Series #4 (en bleu)», 2019, Graphite,
pigment, wax and studio dust on paper,
68 (H) × 52 (W) paper/ 90 × 74cm, $7,000

«Ariki Series #5 (en vert)», 2019, Graphite,
pigment, wax and studio dust on paper,
68 (H) × 52 (W) paper/ 87 × 71cm, $7,000

Photography: Sait Akkirman,