Kay George

Kay is a self taught artist born in Rotorua, New Zealand in 1954. As a young child she was influenced by her grandparents who were migrants from England and Ireland. Her grandfather was the local sign writer of the timber town of Tokoroa where she spent her first eight years.

“It was like being in a candy shop every time I stayed with them. My grandfather used to paint everything in bright colours from the red letter box with flowers to painted wooden furniture as well as his bright coloured landscapes. My grandmother would co-ordinate the fabrics with bright colours as well – for me this was a beginning.”

She first started painting textiles in the late 70′s in Sydney, Australia selling clothing via the markets and retail outlets. In 1988 she moved with husband and fellow artist Ian George to Rarotonga, Cook Islands where they set up their studio from where they sold textiles, paintings and clothing. The couple were instrumental in organising group art exhibitions and workshops and founded the Cook Islands Art Society.

At the end of 1994, the couple returned to Auckland with their daughter. Over the following seven years Kay frequently showed her work in both group and solo shows. She had garments shown in the Pasifika Fashion Awards and was a finalist in the Smokefree Fashion Awards. She had work commissioned for the Pacific wing of Te Papa Museum and in 2000 exhibited with New Zealand textile designers at Saint Etienne International Design Biennale.

Kay has works commissioned in New Zealand, the Cook Islands and overseas; the most recent being for the foyer of the new unit for abused children at Auckland’s Starship hospital.

At the beginning of 2001 Kay and her family moved back to their home in Rarotonga where they built a new gallery ‘The Art Studio’ in their village of Arorangi. The works on display cover a diverse range from painted silks, hand painted and printed clothing, wall hangings, fine art and sculpture.

Kay regularly exhibits in New Zealand and is currently represented by the Morgan Street Gallery in Newmarket.

Media: Oil and mixed media paintings on canvas and board, hand-painted textiles, dresses, T-shirts. 


Subjects: Cook Islands and Pacific motifs. 


Where: The Art Studio, Arorangi.