Based in Manurewa, Clinton Hewett is a Cook Islands Artist and Woodcarver. He works in oil, watercolor and acrylic, and also uses oil pastels and block printing to create depth within his compositions.
Clinton Hewett has been working as a woodcarver, artist and storyteller (heritage knowledge bearer) professionally since 1991. His career spans 32 years thus far, beginning in Aitutaki, Cook Islands.
Hewetts’ work explores narratives drawn from the cultural heritage of his birthplace and ancestral lands of Aitutaki and Rarotonga, and the experiences of its transformation in the Cook Island diaspora of Aotearoa, New Zealand.
Who is one of your biggest influences?
Darcy Nicholas and Andy Leleisi’uao and Benjamin Work.
What do you love most about being an artist?
Darcy Nicholas said “Creating art is my freedom” and it has formed the biggest part of my world for as long as I can remember as a child.
What recent exhibition most excited you and why?
Marcus Hipa, it was so relatable for me to work from experiences from your homeland and the transcending that takes place when you emigrate away from your world to a new place.
How do you think your heritage informs your art practice?
It will always be central to my practice but the key for me was to learn and respect our histories while not only looking at our past as it can absorb us and envelop our visual conversations as we develop.
What is the main message you want to convey through your work in general?
Share my knowledge and interpretations of the two worlds I live in. One, of the heritage lessons I learned in Aitutaki and two, that of the experiences of the existence of our culture in the diaspora of Aotearoa.