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St Luke 1953-55
oil on canvas, 600 x 450 mm
This work is closely linked to the goddess paintings. It began as a sketch of a young Māori man in Northland. Rita Angus told Douglas Lilburn, ‘While painting him, he acquired a halo, saucer size, & became Luke.’
As the patron saint of painters, Saint Luke was an especially important figure for Angus. By showing him as Māori in a radiant Pacific landscape – that is, by combining aspects of her Western heritage and home in the Pacific – Angus expressed her identity as a New Zealander.
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