Sofia Minson is a portrait and landscape oil painter of Ngāti Porou (Māori), Swedish, English and Irish heritage. She works from her studio in Auckland, New Zealand.
Born in Auckland in 1984, Sofia spent much of her childhood in Samoa, Sri Lanka and China due to her father's civil engineering work. On returning to New Zealand as a teenager, painting enabled her to reconnect with her homeland and her mixed Māori and European heritage, as well as celebrate the cultural and religious diversity that she had experienced overseas.
Sofia’s contemporary Maori portraits depict creative individuals who are helping to evolve today’s culture through their own art forms or roles in society. Her mythical, primordial landscapes and seascapes with ancient waka (canoes) are inspired by the creation myths and voyaging history of Aotearoa (New Zealand).
Since 2004 Sofia's paintings have been exhibited and collected in the USA, Europe and throughout New Zealand. She has won three national art awards including the Molly Morpeth Canaday Art Award in 2005 and is a three-time finalist in the New Zealand Portrait Gallery's Adam Portraiture Awards, winning People's Choice in 2012 when the finalists' exhibition toured to Christchurch.
Six New Zealand artists including Sofia were chosen to feature in the 2010 documentary "Canvassing The Treaty", in which they deepened their knowledge about the Treaty of Waitangi and created cross-cultural collaborative artworks together.
She has also collaborated with local children from Orakei School and painted one-on-one with autistic children for the "Art for Autism" project in 2010. She has worked with community organisations and charities through artwork donations and in 2009 shaved her head as part of “Shave an Artist”, a fundraiser for the Leukaemia & Blood Foundation.
The once traditional oil painter was seduced by the power of public art in November 2012 when Newmarket Business Association commissioned Sofia to do a massive 9 x 15 metre urban paste-up of a print of her painting of Tiki Taane with full-face moko (traditional Maori tattoo) on a wall in the heart of Auckland's most exclusive retail district.
Sofia’s vision is to be the world’s top contemporary Māori portrait painter and to help build understanding respect and friendship between cultures.