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The Trench Digger

Trench Digger

Over the break, Te Hau Kāinga had three students undertaking research projects as part of our  summer scholarships.  We were quite open in the kinds of output their research might produce, and we were pleased that an artist, Jordan Quinnell, applied for the scholarship, and produced two wonderful images.  Please see below for Jordan’s bio.


In this kōrero we are featuring Jordan’s image of a trench digger.  The © copyright belongs to the artist.  Jordan writes:


"Through my research, I came across a couple of newspaper articles that mentioned local volunteers who were performing trench digging labour around and within my hometown of Ōpunake. The main reason I found for this was that at the time (1942) there was a lot of speculation and rumours that Japan were planning to invade New Zealand. And Ōpunake was vulnerable due to its easily accessible port. 


"I found this an intriguing and interesting concept that I had no previous knowledge of. For me it seemed like a perfect representation of this kaupapa, because it alluded to both sides; The home front and the war effort.  


"In the beginning stages of producing this print, I found it relatively easy and had a clear idea of what the final image could look like. I was very interested in having a portion of Ōpunake in the mid/back ground to help ground it in the local area, and to stay in line with the inspiration. Then have a slightly off centre figure in the foreground digging a trench. 


"In my original concepts I did have the idea of creating quite a bold and graphic image similar to vintage travel posters. But ultimately as this piece progressed it did start to get very busy, so I decided to instead use a limited colour palette which is what you see in the final image."


Jordan’s bio.

Kia ora e te whānau, my name is Jordan Quinnell.  I am Māori and whakapapa back to Ngā Ruahine, Taranaki and Tūwharetoa iwi.  I am 22 years old and last year I completed a Bachelor degree in Māori Visual Arts at Massey University in Palmerston North. I am now studying a Post-graduate diploma in Māori Visual Arts.

I was born and bred in the mighty Taranaki, in a small town called Ōpunake right on the coast. I’ve lived in Palmerston North for the last five years while I study and grind away while doing what I love which is mahi toi (Art).

While I love most types of art, at the moment I am specialising in digital design, illustration and digital print media. I guess you could say I’m an emerging artist? I’ve been a part of a few exhibitions back home, in Ōpunake and New Plymouth and currently have some of my works installed in the art gallery Kete Aronui.  More of my work can be seen on my art Instagram page: @jq_artistry.

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