Mana Muse exhibition captures inspiring wāhine

updated By Tema Hemi

Artist Penny Howard has completed a series of portraits of contemporary, inspiring Māori women who are leaders in their chosen professions and who advocate for women's rights.

Her work focuses on identity and will be displayed for public view during at Artweek Auckland 2018. 

The subjects are leaders in their respective working fields, they're authentic and true to themselves, they're mothers. 

Howard says, "I knew I had a solo shown coming up this year and thought 'let's turn this into the whole show, Mana Muse, and let,s look at women I find inspiring'.  They're all contemporary women, they're all women- I think they're authentic- which is the most important thing to me and really true to themselves."

Howard believes it's important to have portraits of female role models for future generations to aspire to. 

"I just think we need Māori, we need Polynesian women especially.  Look, this is [the 125th women's suffrage anniversary], we need these kinds of portraits bought and put in public spaces so that they are a role model for our future generations."

Anika Moa, MP Marama Davidson, Dr Selina Tusitala Marsh, Sia Figeil and Howards daughter Sybella Howard are among the subjects of the exhibition.