Val Evon Raymond, artist, educationalist, “quiet activist” 19/11/1931 - 19/2/2021
Taupō painter and artist Val Raymond – synonymous with landscape and portrait painting in the town and wider central North Island has been remembered for her “quiet activism” for the area’s environment and heritage and her bridging of the gap between a European aesthetic and Te Ao Māori.
Among a series of glowing tributes at her funeral, one of the most poignant was by artist and curator Eleazar Bramley (Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Rauhoto).
“My first connection with Val Raymond was as a child, spinning on my great-grandmother's chair, running my hands through a beaded curtain, staring at a portrait of my great, great-grandmother Kui Arihia Rameka wrapped in a feather cloak.
“My eyes would trace the lines of her face around the curves of her moko kauae, and through her wavy white hair. Magically her piercing eyes would follow me around the room. The little artist in me was unfurling – this painting engaged me unlike any photo I’d seen.
“Almost a mythological character that featured in many of our family stories, I had never met this kuia but I knew her. I knew her in part through Val’s work. Val had sat in the physical realm with my kuia and Val was able to capture a part of her essence. I could inherently understand and see my kuia’s significance, her strength, her temperament, her experience, her softness, her wisdom and her mana…