Commentary
Lessons with Louise Henderson

Lessons with Louise Henderson

I first met Louise Henderson in May 1990. I’d recently returned from living in the UK, and moved into what had been her house and studio at 62 Gillies Avenue, Newmarket. The owner, Ross Stevenson, was still in regular contact with Louise at her new home nearby in Sarawia Street, and asked me if I’d like to meet her. I remember being quite nervous at the time and standing at the front door waiting. She didn’t open the door at first, but pulled back the old curtain on a nearby window to see who it was. She recognised Ross so all was well. She was very polite, and more than happy to let me look through the dozens and dozens of paintings that leant four or five deep against the wall in the two front rooms of the old villa.

Commentary
Identities of Journey and Return

Identities of Journey and Return

It was the novelty of seeing white people rendered by a Japanese artist that tickled me when I first saw Utagawa Sadahide’s woodblock prints of foreigners in Yokohama in the 1860s. There’s something slightly clumsy about the Westerners’ exaggerated noses and the forced rounding of their eyes. You can sense, in these images, the artist’s struggle to detach himself from the conventions of Japanese art and beauty; his lines waver here, unlike his assertive depictions of long, flat Japanese faces in earlier prints.

Commentary
The C-Word

The C-Word

It’s been a very strange time. We’ve spent the last month or so asking after each other’s bubbles, and imploring people we barely know to stay safe. Depending on your beliefs, this was the month that the world demonstrated that we could put the interests of people above those of finance, or the end of freedom. Everyone, in every indus­try and every sector of every society has been affected in some way. But our core business is art, and we’re very conscious of the effects of a global shutdown on artists. It’s too early to know what changes this will bring to our sector, so we’re concentrating on the here and now. If your life is focused on making art, how are you going? We asked eighteen New Zealand artists to send us a picture of their lockdown studio set-up, and asked them a few simple questions.

What’s your Covid-19 studio set-up? Is it the same as pre-lockdown or are you in something more makeshift?

How are you finding this time? Is it hard, or is it a gift of time, or maybe a bit of both?

What are you finding essential during lockdown? Is there a piece of equipment/view/song you couldn’t have lived without?

Here are their responses.

Commentary
Where in the World? Placing New Zealand in the Pacific

Where in the World? Placing New Zealand in the Pacific

“It is a strange fact that New Zealand can be literally all at sea in the Pacific Ocean, and yet pay that ocean, and neighbours and relations within it, so little attention.”
— Damon Salesa, Sāmoan historian

“… this small and very British country is producing some honest and lively artists whose eyes open upon a land not at all like England, but whose minds are formed in the living tradition of Western culture.”
Helen Hitchings, New Zealand gallerist

Commentary
The Seas are Rising: So Are We

The Seas are Rising: So Are We

In Te Ao Māori the whakataukī “He toka tū moana” pays homage to the rock that withstands the sea as a metaphor for human strength in our cultural or political beliefs, whatever may come. But while the rock is steadfast, the octopus Te Wheke is a shape-shifter, canny and malleable.

Commentary
Bulletin Turns 200

Bulletin Turns 200

A cover photograph of a set of storage racks, a six-digit phone number and a simple address: Botanical Gardens, Rolleston Avenue. The first issue of Bulletin, sent to members of the Robert McDougall Art Gallery in the early months of 1979, was a no-nonsense, four-page, black and white, bi-monthly newsheet promising an informative diet of “news, views and reviews of activities” at the Gallery and “important visual arts news from Christchurch”.

Notes
Te Tāhū o ngā Maunga Tūmatakahuki

Te Tāhū o ngā Maunga Tūmatakahuki

There is a gorgeous new addition on the side of Te Puna o Waiwhetū. Artist Kelcy Taratoa has created a wall work to replace Kay Rosen’s Here Are the People and There Is the Steeple, which was in place for eight years. Its title is Te Tāhū o ngā Maunga Tūmatakahuki (see below for an explanation) and it was created in association with our soon-to-be-revealed exhibition Te Wheke: Pathways Across Oceania. The exhibition’s themes of exploration, belonging and connection were a starting point for Taratoa’s thinking, and he worked with the support of mana whenua, including Nathan Pohio, to ground the work in local narratives that relate to discovery and whakapapa.

Notes
Congratulations to the winners of Blue Globe: Stories from Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

Congratulations to the winners of Blue Globe: Stories from Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

During lockdown, young writers between the ages of 8 and 18 have been busy completing their entries for Blue Globe: Stories from Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. Any work in our online collection could be used as inspiration; the works entrants chose this year can be viewed here.

A number of staff volunteered to be on our judging panel: Sarah Pepperle, Anita Paris and Tara Elder took the 8-10 year olds; Lana Coles, Gwynneth Porter and Nick Priddy the 11-14s; and Sarah Pepperle and Gwynneth Porter the 15-18s. The judges really enjoyed reading each piece and were amazed and delighted at the imagination shown and the quality of the entries.

Below are our winning entries alongside the artwork they used for inspiration - enjoy!

Notes
Highly Commended entries, Blue Globe: Stories from Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

Highly Commended entries, Blue Globe: Stories from Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

Our competition for young writers attracted a number of entries this year, and the judges had many excellent pieces to choose from when deciding on a winner for each category. It was really tough to choose favourites from such an exceptional bunch of writing, but here are the judges' top six choices for Highly Commended prizes for you to enjoy. Congratulations to them, and to all the writers who entered this year.

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