In 1965, Colin McCahon was becoming increasingly interested in Maori culture, and exploring the use of numerals as forms and symbols in his art. Here, he combines these two interests, giving the numerals the frond-like forms of the koru – a spiral motif found in Maori art.
Like so much of McCahon’s work, Koru, 1, 2, 3 is also underpinned by Christian ideas. The three-part painting refers to the Trinity – God as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Other connections are suggested too. The embryo-like forms of the last two panels evoke the beginning of life. The lines that link them hint at a pathway or journey – a recurring image in McCahon’s art.
Please note that processing time for Museum Collection Prints/Mātātuhi mai i kohinga o Te Papa is 5 to 10 business days.
Image colours may differ on personal devices compared to the physical print due to screen variations.