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Numa Mackenzie

Numangatini Fraser Mackenzie’s art draws heavily on his life journeys and his connection to his culture. He interweaves street style, the pacific tatau form, his love of tiki, and a youthful addiction to colour.

Of Cook Island and Anglo heritage, Numa was born and raised in Canada, in a land-locked city nestled amongst mountains and prairies. Growing up as a young Polynesian man in an urban environment, he was pulled towards the black street culture through graffiti, break dancing and the unique martial art Capoeira in a search for his own tribe. Contrasting his experience of his “street life” against his experiences of “island life”, Numa became aware that he neither fit within his Canadian environment nor his island home. This ignited a desire to build a connection and understand his heritage, first through literature relating to the pacific, its cultures and art forms, and finally by moving home to Rarotonga.

Currently living in Auckland, Numa is focusing on his family, building his artist community, and defining his art form. He is also a member of Rosanna Raymond’s SaVAge K’lub project.


Facebook.com: Natures Gentleman

Returning home provided a new direction and depth to Numa’s life, pursuit of living sustainably and, of course, his art. His attraction to symmetry and design soon grew to a deep seeded respect for the symbolism of patterns, how patterns connected people to locations, bound them to their natural environments and linked them to other peoples across the Pacific. Numa’s entry into the world of tatau (traditional tattoo), first as a canvas, then as a stretcher has allowed him to intimately explore these concepts.

In 2011 Numa was honoured to participate in the Pacific Voyagers expedition, sailing throughout the Pacific on Marumaru Atua – the Cook Island double hulled canoe that accompanied six other canoes from the Pacific. The mission of the expedition was to use the wisdom of the ancestors, combined with modern science, to propel the Pacific into a more sustainable future, help heal the injured Pacific ocean and it’s people to revive the cultural traditions of voyaging.

Numa joined the voyage in San Diego sailing to Mexico, Cocos Island, Galapagos, Tahitian Island Group, Cook Islands, Samoa, Fiji, Vanuatu and finally the Solomon Islands to participate in the 11th Festival of Pacific Arts. The experience exponentially grew his Polynesian family, cementing his belief of the unmatched connections between Pacific peoples and allowed him to share his artwork through the Pacific.

At work in the Galapagos
Numa’s art draws heavily on his life journeys, his connection to his culture or thirst for it. His art weaves street style, the meticulous pacific tatau form, his love of tiki with a youthful addiction to color. His works range from subliminal political undertones to comical squids and laughing gods. A mixed media, mutli surface artist, his large public installations have accorded some fame in Rarotonga, often featuring as a highlight in tourist pictures.

Currently resident in Auckland, Numa is focusing on his family, building his artist community, and defining his art form.

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