Today is the 116th anniversary of the birth of cartoonist/illustrator Noel Cook. On the Pikitia Press tumblr I'll be posting a series of galleries of Cook's work over the next couple days.
New Zealand Author Witi Ihimaera discovered Cook's work in England during the early seventies, he shared the following recollections:
I well remember walking through Chelsea, I think it was, and seeing in the front window of an art gallery a painting of a large tekoteko figure. The painting, in blue, red and black was so arresting - and posed in such a dramatic way, the figure almost tearing itself apart - that I went in and bought it. I can't remember how much it cost, but as I was on my honeymoon with Jane and we were on a working holiday, you'll appreciate that it wasn't a purchase to be done lightly! Subsequently I met Noel Cook and his wife - he may have been in the gallery at the time I bought the painting - but I know Jane and I went to another showing of his and also to dinner with him and London friends. He was a friendly generous man to a young Maori boy - as I was then - and we corresponded for a while, somewhere I may have those letters but it would take ages to find them.
I still have the painting. It's on the wall in my music room. Uncannily, Alan Duff's first edition of his book Once Were Warriors has a similarly posed tekoteko on its cover. Mine is the better version.
Catalogue from Noel Cook Exhibition
Images © 2013 Estate of Noel Cook
Special thanks to Dylan Horrocks, Witi Ihimaera, Tim Bollinger, Geoff Harrison, Darren Schroeder, Peter Cook and Jonquil Cook.