The Prolific Drawing Practice of Susan Te Kahurangi King

An abstract drawing with bright colours and dense line artUntitled

Susan Te Kahurangi King was born in New Zealand, and began drawing as a child in the 1950s. Early in her childhood, the artist lost the ability to speak. Since then, her prolific drawing practice has served not only as an artistic outlet, but a creative mode of communication.

A drawing made using bright colours and abstracted figurative formsUntitled


I really enjoy the kaleidoscopic colours and equally wild compositions that the artist utilizes in her works. Te Kahurangi King packs an astonishing amount of figurative detail into every work, with figures -- human, animal, and strange cartoon hybrids of the two -- often overlapping and bleeding into one another in a way that’s equal parts whimsical and unsettling. In some cases, Te Kahurangi King seems to reference pop-culture imagery, with some drawings hinting at fragmented forms of well-known cartoon characters.


The artist’s line work is beautifully confident, in a way that belies the stream-of-consciousness aesthetic of her compositions.

A drawing made with densely packed figures and bright coloursUntitled

Written by: Dallas Jeffs
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