Beverly Rhodes’ father left when she was just five years old, severing a link to part of her family history. In her late 40s, while studying her family history for a Sociology assignment, she discovered the secret of her Ngāi Tahu whakapapa. The works in Ka mua, ka muri acknowledge and explore this rediscovered family history, helping Beverly forge a new path into the future.
Beverly paints family members and tīpuna from photographs taken at special family occasions. The soft pastel colour palette of the works recalls the muted colours of hand tinted photographs taken in the 1940s and 1950s. Non-figurative works depict events, both past and future. In the final painting of the series a toroa (albatross) flies over Lyttleton Harbour on its way to Cape Reinga, and from there on to Hawaiki, as it carries Beverly back to her tīpuna.