After meeting some New Zealand Maori who had come to this country to play Polocrosse - a fast and furious horse sport I also enjoy - I decided to visit New Zealand. While there, I took advantage of the opportunity to talk with contemporary Maori people, to experience their culture and immerse myself in their history. Perhaps the most striking cultural practice of the Maori that I observed is their tradition of facial tattooing. Cutting intricate patterns into the flesh with a sharp blade of bone - not pricking, as is the custom elsewhere - and rubbing a pigment of soot and water into the wounds to leave blue-green scars, is an ancient art of theirs - an honor traditionally reserved for men and women of rank and dignity, experience and accomplishment.Some of these elaborate markings represent one's family heritage, but can only be worn if the actions and deeds of the wearer have lived up to the high standard set by ancestors. Other patterns tell of personal accolades and expertise, either in healing powers or battle courage. What impressed me most, however, was the way in which the patterns, over time, seemed to become external reflections of the internal person...self-expressions rather than mere decorations...that were as natural to the face as age lines.In this sculpture I wanted to capture the depth of character that comes from an extraordinary life dignified by challenges met and surmounted.