About the Inanga Series



The Inanga Series explores colour, nature and pattern. A distinct and playful series of highly detailed artworks created using watercolour paint and indian ink. Kiri explains her inspiration for the series ‘Inanga’ below:


When I go for a walk in the bush I see colour and symmetry everywhere. The simple and complex working together. I’m intrigued by these underlying patterns and shapes and I try to emulate them in my artwork.

There is an artistry in science and nature, especially when you uncover beautiful simplicity. I wanted to bring science and nature back to art.

I discovered that my approach for this series needed to be one of setting down strong limitations and decided to create my compositions using just one simple Inanga fish. This forced me to be really creative in my designs, in how I position the Inanga image and in my application of colours and tones. As a result of these limitations it has resulted in a really playful body of work.

I put a spotlight on naturally occurring geometric shapes and mathematical patterns from our natural environment. They are fascinating and challenging and I often create the artwork for no other reason than to see if it can be done, the way I imagine in my head.

What interests me most is the brain gymnastics required in the process of creating the artworks. Selecting effective shapes that will work best for my compositions. Considering how to make these shapes look striking in 2 or 3 dimensions. These compositions require problem solving, research, trial and error and exacting detail. Dropping one stray blob of indian ink accidentally results in the artwork being scrapped and starting again. Absorbent watercolour paper takes no prisoners and there is no way to erase mistakes (believe me - I've tried, my partner and I spent hours carefully experimenting with Water, Chlorine, Baking Soda, Vinegar, Acetone, Ammonia and Turpentine. We were successful in making mustard gas though - just kidding kids, be careful with these chemicals and don't mix them together).

I invite the viewer to step in closer to see the tiny detail of each individual fish. Then it's important to move back and view the painting as a whole. At a distance you can take in the overall effect of the artwork and the momentum it creates.

About New Zealand Inanga


In late summer and autumn, when the full moon appears and the spring tide rises the Inanga lifecycle begins.
At the flooded stream edge the eggs are laid in the base of tall, dense vegetation. The eggs develop for 2-4 weeks until the next flood in the hope they don’t become dinner for local eels or herons.
Once the eggs have hatched, the larvae are carried on the current down stream and out to sea where they continue to develop for six months, feeding on plankton around the coast.
When they reach about 5 ½ cm in length, they migrate back upstream as whitebait in spring and continue growing into adult fish.
Inanga feed on tiny insects in lowland, freshwater habitats. Unusually, they swim in the daytime in shoals. They're found in estuaries, rivers, lakes, streams, creeks and wetlands but can’t travel too far inland because they can’t swim through swift flowing rapids.
By late summer, they’re ready to spawn and the lifecycles repeats.
Inanga grow to about 8-11cm in length, they have silver bellies and no scales. They are the smallest of the five galaxiid species found here in New Zealand and also the one most commonly caught when people fish for Whitebait. The other four migratory galaxiids are the Banded Kokopu, the Giant Kokopu, the Shortjaw Kokopu and the Koaro.