Gary Baseman creates a mythical land of hybrid creatures in Memento Moa, a series that explores themes of migration, memory, and mortality.
Playing off the phrase “memento mori” which expresses the inevitability of death, Baseman reimagines Aotearoa New Zealand as a land of rebirth and harmony, bringing back the giant moa from extinction to symbolize those loved and now lost. Baseman pays tribute to his beloved cousin who immigrated to New Zealand from the United States, but whom he never visited at her new home during her lifetime.
Through iconic characters set in fantastical landscapes, Memento Moa considers family, history, and the idea of home with the artist’s longstanding desire to “celebrate the beauty of the bittersweetness of life.”
Memento Moa is on view at the Suter Art Gallery March 18 – June 11, 2023.
The Suter Art Gallery
208 Bridge Street,
Nelson, 7010 New Zealand