Zarahn Southon

Zarahn Southon

New Zealand (b.1975)

Zarahn Southon is an Auckland based painter of Ngāti Tūwharetoa descent. On completion of a Bachelor of Visual Arts in 1998 Southon had several solo shows and in 2005 he was awarded a Contemporary Pacific Art Scholarship, which funded a trip to study in Florence, Italy.

In 2007 he was awarded a scholarship from the classical art school Studio Escalier in the Loire Valley, France. On completion he furthered his studies with the senior lecturer at Studio Escalier and pioneer of Restructured Realism Ted Seth Jacobs in San Francisco. Southon regards these periods of study in Italy, France and America as highly influential on his current practice.

Southon explores allegorical themes, portraiture and still life within his personal take on Dutch genre painting. Also apparent are references to contemporary Classical Realism, Restructured Realism and 19th century Romanticism.

Zarahn Southon in front of his self portrait (Image courtesy of

Zarahn Southon demonstrates an impressive command of figure drawing and painting techniques in his works. With a subtle yet deep tonal palette, he adds a reminiscent atmosphere to each piece – like capturing a passing moment at a long forgotten party. His characters are full of personality, charm and emotion, to which the viewer can relate.

His portraits are striking character studies of acquaintances, which also feature a self-portrait with rich texture and dark, brooding tones.

Southon has exhibited regularly at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington. Public institutions holding Southon’s works include the Auckland City Council and the Wallace Trust Collection at the Pah Homestead in Auckland.