Florence Akins 1906 - 2012
Florence Akins, an artist with a very long association with Canterbury art, passed away peacefully on 18 October, aged 106.
Florence Akins The Metalworker 1932. Linocut. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu, presented by the artist 1997
Born in Christchurch in 1906, Florence graduated with a Diploma in Fine Arts from the Canterbury College School of Art in 1931 and continued her association with the school as a teacher through to 1969 when she retired. She was highly regarded for her metalwork and we were lucky enough to have her exquisite coffee pot (c.1933) included in the exhibition Simplicity and Splendour: The Canterbury Arts and Crafts Movement from 1882 (collection of Te Papa) here at Christchurch Art Gallery back in 2004. Florence was a living link to a previous generation of New Zealand artists - among her contemporaries were Rita Angus and Leo Bensemann. She was very close to Francis Shurrock but her greatest friendship was with her fellow artist and lifelong friend, Chrystabel Aitken.
In 1997 Florence presented the Gallery with nine linocuts and etchings from the 1930s and 1940s by herself, Bill Sutton, Frances Shurrock and Alexander McLintock. They were a very welcome addition to our New Zealand print collection.
Florence lived a very long and very productive life and as her obituary noted the time has come for her to lay down her paint brush and palette and rest in peace.