Born in 1984, Taryn Beri is from Wellington and specializes in taa moko (cultural tattooing), digital art and contemporary Māori painting. She has recently started exploring spoken word poetry and aspects of performance art as well. Her journey as a professional artist started in 2008 when she moved to Gisborne to study at Toihoukura Māori Art School where she learned for one year. Following that, she began an intense one-on-one taa moko apprenticeship on the East Coast of New Zealand with a tohunga (master/expert) cultural tattooer. For three years she learned the tikanga (protocols), culture, techniques, patterns and designs associated with the cultural practice of taa moko. In 2011, she also studied Mātauranga Māori (traditional knowledge) for one year at Te Wānanga o Raukawa. In 2012 Taryn set out on her own to develop her art practice as a full time professional artist. Prior to 2008, her background was in Māori fashion and adornment design, graphic design, branding, marketing and business management.
Taryn has been involved with exhibitions at venues such as Te Papa Tongarewa National Museum of New Zealand, The Royal Ontario Museum (Canada), The Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, The Agung Rai Museum of Art (Bali), The National Library of New Zealand, Manifacto Amsterdam, The Field Museum (Chicago), Musee du quai Branly (Paris), Ora NY Gallery (New York), Museo de la las culturas (Mexico City) and Musee de la civilization (Quebec) among others.
She travels extensively throughout New Zealand (often based in Wellington) and around the world tattooing, painting and exhibiting. Her favorite destinations to visit so far have been India, Egypt, Tahiti, Paris, Dubai, New York and Bali. She draws great inspiration from the different cultures, peoples and styles of art that she encounters on her journeys.
The Divine Feminine and ngā atua wāhine (Māori goddesses) are a big source of inspiration for many of her paintings. Two of her biggest art idols are iconic Māori artist Robyn Kahukiwa and world renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo whom she has been inspired by from a young age.
In late 2013, Taryn gave birth to a beautiful baby daughter. Themes of motherhood, conception, creation, birth, ancestral memory, transformation, personal growth, DNA information and the continuum of whakapapa (genealogy) from ancestors to offspring also feature in many of her art works. Her ancestors Te Rauparaha and Nohorua as well as their relation, the famed Te Rangi Topeora also inspire many of her art works and ideas. Māori cosmology, the stars, moon, sun, lightning and other natural phenomena also feature often in her artworks.
The inter-relatedness, similarities and commonalities between different indigenous groups of people around the world is of great interest to her.
In 2015, Taryn initiated the formation of a Māori womens art group called the Toi Wāhine Collective in her tribal hometown of Porirua, Wellington, New Zealand. She belongs to the Ngāti Toarangatira, Te Ātiawa, Ngāti Raukawa ki te tonga, and Ngai Tahu tribes.
In 2010 she was given an award for emerging Māori artists by the New Zealand government organisation, Creative New Zealand. Taryn also runs an online mentoring program for women, started in 2017, called Kuiniklub.
In 2018, Taryn initiated the formation of he whare karioi, a traveling performance art group - 'Ngā Uri Hou: The New Descendants', in collaboration with her partner Jerome Kavanagh.
Read our Toi Tangata Artist Interview with Taryn Beri here.
TOI TANGATA MĀORI ART GALLERY WORKS BY TARYN BERI CURRENTLY FOR SALE: