One to watch: Cheree Te Orangaroa Downes

One to watch: Cheree Te Orangaroa Downes

Buying art is about following your heart, choosing something that resonates with you and looks great in your home or office. It can also be a smart investment, something you can pass on to your children that holds value - in both an aesthetic and a financial sense.


Here at Artbay, we showcase a huge range award-winning New Zealand artists. Our consultants can help you choose art to colour your life and last a lifetime. We’re always unearthing new talent and it’s something we’re proud to share with you.


One artist who’s on our radar right now is Southland-based Maori artist Cheree Te Orangaroa Downes. While deeply rooted in the traditions of Maori culture, her work has a modern twist and universal appeal. The natural materials and neutral colours will never go out of vogue and sit beautifully in almost any space.

Cheree T O Downes Miharo

It’s this mix of the old, the new and the natural which made her the perfect choice for our very first exhibition in our Exclusive Exhibitions space on Marine Parade, Queenstown back in October 2016.


Her art tells stories of how Maori identify with and interact with the natural environment. The traditional weaving technique represents the environment and echoes the strength community.  


Cheree uses traditional techniques to weave harakeke (flax) and muka (flax fibre) and combines these with recycled materials such as metal, animal skins and rustic wood. Her work straddles the line between art and sculpture – something that’s very popular in modern homes right now. It takes up less space than a traditional sculpture, but ‘pops’ on the wall, adding texture you wouldn’t get with a painting.


Framed RapakiShe was taught these traditional techniques by elders and friends more than twenty years ago, but her art continues to develop and evolve with each new piece she creates. Cheree blends her traditional skills with new ideas; you’ll see woven glass and metal feathers alongside traditional flax weaving in some of her newer works.


Some of her pieces even have a musical element. ‘Wai Ata, Wai Ora, Wai Marie’ currently hangs on the wall in Artbay Gallery; the glass feathers gently clink and chime in a light breeze.


Wai ata Wai ora Wai marie

Cheree’s work is universal and yet unique, rooted in her culture and true to her own style. It’s this very recognisable style and deep sense of cultural traditions which we think makes Cheere Te Orangaroa Downes a New Zealand artist to watch.


You can see our current Cheere Te Orangaroa Downes art pieces here – or watch the video below to discover more about this fascinating artist.


Cheree Te Orangaroa Downes - Artist profile from Artbay Gallery, Queenstown, NZ on Vimeo.



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