SPOTLIGHT ON Finela Moore
Self-portrait (photograph) of the artist, 2006
Finela Moore came to New Zealand from South Africa in 2001. She is a single mother who lives under the shadow of Mauau in Mount Maunganui. In addition to being an artist, she teaches art classes and does home movie making as a hobby. She has three university degrees, one in the arts and two in social science. Influenced by her African roots, she has produced a wide body of work characterised by diversity in subject and style, no less the Pacific and Austrolasian arts.
Child of Africa
The youngest of three, Finela Moore grew up in Africa. She showed talent at a young age and won many school and youth art competitions. She began to sell work professionally in about 1980. Her work is influenced both by the rich banquet of African art, and the Pacific Islands, including the Maori style in New Zealand. She attributes her success to the love and encouragement of key women in her life, beginning with her mother and grandmother. She has been greatly influenced by a personal history marred with tragedy.
Journey of tears
In her youth, the sudden death of her beloved mother and younger brother flung the sensitive artist and the family into grief and disarray. A Cinderella story (without the hansom prince) took Moore into a cycle of emotional abuse and family conflict that would leave the young girl emotionally battered. It would take her to the depths of depression and despair, even close to suicide.
The story of recovery
Finally Moore had to make the painful decision to break away from the family to rediscover herself and pick up the pieces. It would be a few years before she saw her father again, and she set about the business of finding functionality after the disfunction, health and fullfillment after depression and conflict. She underwent therapy, found a deep and residing faith in God, and studied psychology and sociology to try to understand the forces that had made her young life so difficult.
Moore’s work is all about her life, her struggle and triumph of recovery. The journey left her with depth & strength and a commitment to sharing these things through her art and in other ways.
New beginnings on new shores
Though still influenced by her life in Africa, Moore now draws inspiration from her new life in New Zealand, her children and her hopes and dreams for the future.
Her first appearance on the New Zealand artscape came with an invite to exhibit at Bethlehem college, a prestigeous local art event in the Tauranga area. Since then she was a top seller at the successful downtown galleries, Toto, Zohar, the Art Boutique and others.
She exhibits in group shows at Harrisons gallery, and has been on the Garden and Arts Fest. She exhibits regularly on the Mazda art exhibition at the Hilton in Auckland. She is included in various charity auctions that are put on throughout the yearly calendar in the Tauranga area. Her work sells regularly to an increasingly admiring audience both in New Zealand and further afield. Her regular galleries and art outlets are to be seen on the contacts page of this site. She continues to go from strength to strength in life as in her artistic achievements.
Art Awards and achievements
Making a name for oneself in a new country takes time, and Moore’s work has steadily been accepted and appreciated more and more by the local public in the Tauranga and Mount Maunganui area, and increasingly in wider New Zealand. A project, “The Doors of Hope”, was introduced to Tauranga in March 2006, by Tracey Tume of ImageNation. Local artists were invited to paint on doors which were then displayed along the strand in Tauranga. The event culminated in an auction and prize giving ceremony in which Finela Moore’s door achieved both the prize of supreme award and the highest price for the charity her door was to benefit, the Tauranga Women’s Refuge. The local judges were Richard Arlidge and Grant Thompson. Her door was bought by a collector in Dubai.
featured here, the door titled “Hope springs eternal”, which won the competition. Mixed media with highlighted texture on a donated door
Mazda Artworks at the Hilton Hotel in Auckland, 2006 & 2007
Moore showed work on the 2006, 2007 & 2008 Mazda Art Show at the Hilton Hotel in Auckland. It sold well and was well received by the Auckland art scene.
New Zealand affordable art trust show in Wellington, 2006.
Moore also participated in the Wellington art exhibition run by the Affordable Art Trust of New Zealand, which showcases emerging artists at affordable prices.
Style of working
Although Finela Moore’s work is varied in style and subject, it is always recognisable by it’s unique characteristics. These include: her enjoyment of textures and willingness to experiment with a mix of media: A devotion to “the essential paradox of life and everything”, with a careful balance of chaos and order, design and happenstance; A lustrous, rich and meticulous finish, weather the work is a simple drawing, a traditional oil or acrylic, or even a constellation including driftwood or shaped metal . She likes to make artistic statements that are bold and accessible, yet subtle and understated. She imbues simple subjects with a life and vitality all of their own, each piece of work reflecting her own personal journey, mission and devotion to good art.
Mixed media and texture
She usually works in mixed media, including decoupage, texture compounds and oil and acrylic paints. She often includes objects, string, coins or other trinkets in her artworks, and frequently uses gold leaf. She intends her art to be more than just a visual experience, and likes people to enjoy the textural surface of the artworks.
“I’m always touching other people’s art in galleries. How can you “see” something properly without touching it? I want people to touch my art… and enjoy what it says to their skin.”
"Carved utensil" (2' x 3')
"African drum and beads" (2' x 3')
"African artifact and spoon" (2' x 3')
"Gesture of arrogance" (2'x3')
( a poem by the artist.)
Sweet mother swings with carved bone and leather,
Air and earth, turning sods
Seeds nestled in sumptuousness,
Full of living
Hands swept many times around
Reaching out from lands
Pregnant with butternuts,
You will hear the drums
And whisperings of those who came before
Over the sounds of suckling infants
Wanderers thinking of home.
(a poem hastily penned on a napkin seeing New Zealand for the first time from the airplane window)
Shy child under a soft white blanket
Sun tickled with perfect pink
Heart swells like the surge of tide
Surrounded in sea
Down there, way down
Down beneath the clouds
My Green Island