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I’ve been painting and feel awful. It’s not what I wanted, but what my God allows me … It’s been a terrible struggle & perhaps I’ve made it.
Colin McCahon, letter to Gordon H Brown, 1973
Walk (Series C) is one of a number of works that Colin McCahon painted at his Muriwai studio in 1973, while grieving the deaths of two friends, the poets James K Baxter and Charles Brasch, and his mother, Ethel.
The numbers at the bottom of the rough hessian canvases refer to the Stations of the Cross, which trace Christ’s agonised steps towards his crucifixion. The Muriwai setting also suggests the path the souls of the departed follow to Te Rerenga Wairua (Cape Rēinga), before continuing their journey to Hawaiki, the spiritual homeland. For McCahon, ‘The Christian “walk” and the Maori “walk” have a lot in common.’