John Bevan Ford (1930-2005, Ngati Raukawa ki Kapiti, English, German) was one of the first generation of contemporary Maori artists, who has been acknowledged for his prolific contribution to art and education both in New Zealand and abroad.
Ford believed that the land came first, as a life force beyond humankind, and that land was mana imbued by spirituality that connected us with the 'whole'. He drew inspiration from the customary arts of raranga (weaving), taniko, whakairo, kowhaiwhai and korowai (cloaks), incorporating symbols, motifs and designs from these items into his works.
Ford's skilful compositions pull at the threads of the heart to remind us of our connections to culture, histories and art making. He Aho Tangata was developed by Te Manawa Museums Trust drawing extensively from collections throughout the country, and includes his works from the 1960s through to 2005.