Monday, 10 January 2011

Bite 34: Charles F. Goldie - The Widow, 1903

The Widow, 1903, oil on canvas
Weighed down by the burden of her 'dieing culture', as well as by the loss of her husband, an old Maori woman with a moko crouches on the floor of a thatched whare (house). By her lies her husbands pounamu mere (club) and huia feather. She meditates on a pounamu tiki, a further emblem of her grief but also of her culture and heritage. In reverie her mind is cast back to happier days.

Goldie seems to indicate that this woman's golden days are behind her, as they are for her people (or such was the belief held by Europeans toward Maori in the early twentieth century). This realist painting aims at capturing a world which will soon die out.