Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Art and Music

 In the 90's I spent much time in Auckland, an hours drive from my then home in Warkworth. I was pursuing fame and fortune as a mural painter and murals were much in fashion then as decoration for restaurants, cafes, and upmarket clothing stores.

Fashions change but I had a good time for a while and ample opportunity to explore my Irish heritage at the many Irish bars that sprang up at that time.

There was an Irish renaissance at the time and I embraced it with joy, for, although a common or garden New Zealander I was ill at ease as there had been for some time in this country a great racial debate as the Maori population increasingly demanded their rights and redress for historical wrongs forced on them by the Pakeha settlers in the 1800's

I have no Maori blood and was quite unnerved by this drama as I thought that, taken to it's logical limits, this drama would eventually see me disinherited from my birthplace and kicked out!

Now just because a young man from County Clare decided to make a better life for himself away from the famine that swept Ireland for twenty years after 1840, all of young Peter Mulvay's life in fact, and took ship to New Zealand in 1861, did this mean that I, Peter Mulvay's great grandson, because of my lack of Maori blood, had no right to be here?

This scary line of thought led me to discover that I too had a race and a blood and this was black Irish from the West coast of the Emerald Isle.
Yes, I came complete with the requisite green eyes, slightly olive skin and black hair of County Clare.
And the knowledge that I too had a racial heritage was a comfort to me and I no longer worried about being kicked out of my country of birth.

And I discovered Guinness and single malts and those Irish bars had live music every night of the week! yay!

And I would take a sketch book along to those Irish pubs and after enough Guinness to conquer my shyness I would practice and practice high speed drawing and learn how to draw a violinist's fingers in the middle of a solo, catch a singers soulful expression and etc.

The amount of booze I drank did get in the way of my mural painting business a wee bit but I have so many sketches of New Zealand musicians that I am about to put to good use as paintings.

My mission for this winter is to make paintings and prints of all those drawings and I feel they may just turn out o.k. because they all came from the heart and I have many musician friends whose talent and art I adore.

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