Deirdre enjoyed print making in the Arts Transition class, but most of her work now is one object on a stylised background. “There is a spiritual element to art”. Creating Icons in her art practice is what gives Deirdre meaning: it is a “process of spiritual reflection”. One particular work stands out for this artist, Hope, which was of a lotus:
In Buddhist symbolism, the lotus is symbolic of purity of the body, speech, and mind. While rooted in the mud, its flowers blossom on long stalks as if floating above the muddy waters of attachment and desire. It is also symbolic of detachment as drops of water easily slide off its petals.
There is a great sense of achievement for Deirdre, seeing her own work exhibited, and this affirms what she is doing is valuable. She recalls an exhibition at Studio One in 2015, being absolutely surprised to see how great her print of a clam shell looked all framed up and hanging on the wall in a gallery. The clam shell piece was a connection to her grandfather who was part Samoan.
Icons, spirituality, the search for wholeness and healing, and the love of beauty in nature and in life inspires Deirdre to make art. She has been creative all of her life. Growing up she would make her own clothes and has a very creative family. Deirdre has two older brothers and a younger sister. One brother is a poet and David is a good musician and artist. Deirdre played cello at school and has sung in choirs all of her life, most recently with Auckland based chamber choir Viva Voce.
Since 2013 Deirdre has been looking after her mother, Tui, and has been dealing with her own health issues, but now Deirdre is about to become a university student again to complete her Graduate Diploma in Theology.
Deirdre loved how the Māpura community embraced Tui and gave her a sense of self-worth and self esteem. Deirdre feels the same way about how Māpura has embraced her, “Māpura is a place where people are empowered and their self-worth is affirmed through art making – they are given a voice.”