Merrill Simmons-Hansen



I came across Merrill’s artwork when I was wandering through a website listing Bay of Plenty artists. And with fingers crossed (not true, I can not use the keyboard with crossed fingers, but you know what I mean) I  pressed ‘send’ and hoped I’d get an answer. Last year 20% of the artists I approached answered so I was prepared for silence. But Merrill responded immediately ‘yes please, include me‘.  And that has been typical for this year, over half of the artists have come back to me with a positive reply!!!!

You asked for a photo of my homeland. This is a snapshot of the ancestral lands I link to on the east coast of Ireland.

Dingle Peninsula, Connemara

Dingle Peninsula, Connemara

I have this fascination with the small birds where I live in the Bay of Plenty; they twist and curl in the air about my house in the inner city in spite of the changes over this land and coast line. There is something indescribable about their lightness of being; the lightness in the apparent ordinary everyday duties of our lives together. I think I too am nourished by the connection to indescribable lightness. My colleagues describe this in the  Maori world as the heart of the word, kaitiaki-guardian.

I have always painted, it is a way of understanding-standing under everyday life, and seeing. In art (be that painting, drawing, sculpture, dance, and those small acts in everyday life called home making) I’ve felt my heart could most truly begin to speak.



My first primary school cartoon was a winner – a submission for a school journal formed by the Convent Nuns for which I received a pound – I felt unsure by this exchange and wondered if my cartoon would be cared for. I have designed and produced many greeting cards for friends and family. I  exhibited as a cartoonist working on poverty and wellness for the local newspaper in the 1990s.  I have been  a finalist in the Molly Morpeth Canaday Art 2012  (Bay of Plenty), and share my acrylic and ink  works both  in local social services for care and support of those working and sharing there, and in an international art collection in the States.

I look forward to offering something in my work that brings a moments lightness, a smile or recognition for the exhibition of these poems.

I am so looking forward to receiving Merrill’s artwork. The poem she has selected isn’t about birds so I have no idea how she will approach it. Exciting isn’t it!

3 Responses to Merrill Simmons-Hansen

  1. Snazzi says:

    wow, what beautiful paintings, they are sending me to another world, awesome

  2. Jenny Jeffares says:

    Me and Merrill have journeyed together in another era and I came across this page and laughed out loud in delight. Her subject and colours so remind me of her, I wonder if she knows that! This woman has presence and wisdom, it shines through her art. Thank you Merrill.

  3. Wonderful just like Merrill, a perlocutionary spirit that sprinkles stars and acorns to shift the emotion of those who should be in class, gentle, and most mischievous with astounding sharing, kaleidoscopic would be a fair description of my Kaiako and friend.

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