Ernesto Ovalle is an artist living and working in Auckland. Originally from Colombia, he immigrated to Aotearoa in 1999. He has been a traditional jewellery maker for 25 years, coming from a family of jewellers and sought to develop his practice expanding into contemporary jewellery. He started carving pounamu in 2001, mentored by Chaz Doherty of Tuhoi, who taught him protocols and techniques of wood and bone carving, and how to carve a tiki. Ernesto started working full-time as a carver in 2002. In 2010, he attended Taipotini Polytechnic in Greymouth to study carving and further skills. To develop his practice he went to Elam School of Fine Arts in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014. At the university he studied under Dante Bonica of Maori department in subjects Te Kete Aronui and Maori traditional methods of work with pounamu. He follows traditional Maori greenstone carving traditions, and the Maori influence is evident in the balance, composition, patterns and techniques he uses.

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