Kāpiti Coast artist Austin Whincup was born in Africa, spent his early childhood years in Kiribati and North Wales, then as a teenager came to live in Aotearoa New Zealand. The influence of the lands Austin has lived in are reflected in his beautiful artwork.
In 1998, Austin painted an original set of alphabet art images on the square lids of ice cream containers as a present for his new born nephew Canon. Canon’s parents were delighted with Austin’s gift and asked Wellington storyteller and writer Moira Wairama to write a series of poems to sit alongside the paintings. This led to the creation of BasicallyDifferent which published the artwork and poems as a book titled Alphabet Art together with a set of alphabet cards featuring Austin’s artwork.
For many years Moira Wairama, author of Alphabet Art and Tina Larsen of BasicallyDifferent shared a vision to one day create a Māori language version of Alphabet Art. Finally, in 2019 that vision is being realised with the publication of Arapū Toi, a book and frieze which includes many of Austin’s original paintings plus three new images and a new set of poems in Māori written by Moira.