New Zealand Artist: Rita Angus

Rita Angus, Cass, 1936
Rita Angus, Cass, 1936

Rita Angus (1908-1970) is well-known in New Zealand for her clear, sharp-edged portraits and landscapes, including ‘Cass’, which was voted New Zealand’s favourite painting in a 2006 TV show. Rather than talking about her, I’m just going to show you a few of her paintings. Continue reading “New Zealand Artist: Rita Angus”

Shakespeare at the Pop Up Globe

20170503_084225
The Pop Up Globe, as seen on the walk from my hotel to the conference venue.

Earlier this month work sent me to a conference in Auckland. This isn’t something which would normally make the pages of this blog – which I intentionally keep quite separate from my working life – except for the fact that the conference in question was being held at the Ellerslie Events Centre in Auckland. The hotel at which I was staying was about five minutes’ walk away, and in between lay something which I’d longed to visit ever since I first heard of it – the Pop Up Globe. Continue reading “Shakespeare at the Pop Up Globe”

New Zealand Literature

mapofnewzealand.jpgThus far in this project I’ve rather neglected New Zealand literature, so I thought I should pay it some attention. Doubly rooted in the rich oral tradition of the indigenous Maori people and the equally rich literary tradition of Britain and Europe, New Zealand offers a great deal that is worth paying attention to. The following is little more than a taster of works by some of our most celebrated writers, arranged in chronological order. Continue reading “New Zealand Literature”

Ta Moko: a contemporary Maori perspective

heeni-hirini-and-child-1878
Heeni Hirini and child, 1878.

Something a little different today: follow this link to a recent article by New Zealand’s NewsHub on Ta Moko (facial tattooing), including a brief history of ta moko in New Zealand and a video where Maori people with ta moko discuss the significance of the art in contemporary Maori culture and their own lives.

Originally posted to mark Waitangi Day 2017 (the New Zealand public holiday celebrated annually on February 6th to mark the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi between representatives of Maori tribes and the British crown), it’s definitely well worth checking out.

Let me know what you thought.

Treasure Trove: This Really Cool ‘Prize Bound’ Book Awarded By My Old High School Nearly A Hundred Years Ago

While browsing one of the second-hand book-stalls at my local market, as I am wont to do on a Saturday morning, I found… THIS!

20170204_150546

The cover caught my eye immediately: while my school crest has changed over the last hundred years, the school name – Wanganui Girls’ College – hasn’t. (The spelling of ‘Whanganui’ has changed, but that’s a don’t-mention-the-War kind of thing). Continue reading “Treasure Trove: This Really Cool ‘Prize Bound’ Book Awarded By My Old High School Nearly A Hundred Years Ago”

Summer Holidays #4: Exploring Auckland Art Gallery

Auckland Art Gallery.pngAlthough I had gone to the Auckland Art Gallery specifically to see the Lindauer portraits it seemed rather a shame to leave without checking out some of the other exhibitions, so we didn’t. In this post I’ll be recording a few brief impressions of the other exhibitions we saw at the Gallery.

After our experience with modern sculpture at Brick Bay, we decided to largely eschew the modern art exhibitions and focus our attention on primarily on art from before the start of the 20th century. Fortunately, the Auckland Art Gallery is large and has numerous exhibitions to choose from. Continue reading “Summer Holidays #4: Exploring Auckland Art Gallery”

Summer Holidays #3: The Portraits of Gottfried Lindauer (1829-1926)

heeni-hirini-and-child-1878
Heeni Hirini and child, 1878. This was one of Lindauer’s most famous works, and he reproduced it numerous times.

When the classically-trained Bohemian artist Gottfried Lindauer arrived in New Zealand in 1874 it marked the beginning of one of the most significant eras in New Zealand’s artistic history. Lindauer set up shop as a portrait artist in the nascent British colony, producing exquisitely detailed paintings of some of the more prominent colonists, and wedding portraits for middle-class couples. But it wasn’t long before he came to be intrigued by another set of artistic subjects: Maori rangatira (chiefs) and other Maori people of note. Continue reading “Summer Holidays #3: The Portraits of Gottfried Lindauer (1829-1926)”

Summer Holidays #2: Sculpture Trail

 

20161231_131250
Pyxis, by Ray Haydon

Brick Bay Winery, which I wrote about in my last post, has a rather unique feature: it is home to an extensive collection of contemporary sculptures laid out along a native bush walk which, for a small fee, visitors can explore. Curious to see more modern sculpture, to which I’ve had a limited exposure, I paid my fee and, along with a friend and his teenaged son, began a two-hour exploration. Continue reading “Summer Holidays #2: Sculpture Trail”

Summer Holidays #1: Brick Bay Winery

logo-brick-bay

I was fortunate enough to be invited away on holiday over New Year’s this year, to stay with friends in Wellsford just north of Auckland. As well as offering the opportunity to catch up with people I hadn’t spent time with in far too long, the Auckland region offered a number of interesting activities, some of which are relevant to this blog. One of the first on my list was a visit to a winery, and on this trip I chose Brick Bay Winery in Matakana. Continue reading “Summer Holidays #1: Brick Bay Winery”

Local Culture: Richard Wootton’s ‘Marking Time: Portraits of the Inked’ at the Sarjeant Gallery

I’m pleased to report that I’m safely home from Kaikoura, and diving back into my local art scene.

richard-wotton-morgan-tompsett-wellington-2016
Richard Wootton, ‘Morgan Tompsett’, Wellington 2016

Back in 2009, the New Zealand media reported that one in five adult New Zealanders was tattooed, with the rate rising to just over one in three for people aged 18 to 30. Tattoo, (or ‘moko’ in te reo Maori) played a significant role in traditional Maori and Polynesian culture, and although it went into decline during the early to mid- twentieth century, the Maori cultural renaissance of the late 20th century brought the art form back into the New Zealand mainstream. In addition to, or possibly coat-tailing on, this change, tattoo has also gained a significant place in contemporary European (‘White’) New Zealand culture. Continue reading “Local Culture: Richard Wootton’s ‘Marking Time: Portraits of the Inked’ at the Sarjeant Gallery”