Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū will remain open while our city remains Red under the COVID-19 Protection Framework. Please show your My Vaccine Pass when you visit us, and wear your mask and scan or sign in. Mā te wā, see you soon.
The extraordinary exhibition Ralph Hotere: Ātete (to resist) provided Ōtautahi Christchurch audiences with a truly remarkable opportunity to experience artworks by Ralph Hotere at first hand. Ralph was one of Aotearoa’s most talented artists and, significantly for Christchurch, two of his most notable works, Godwit/Kuaka (1977) and Black Phoenix (1984–88), were shown for the first time in the city.
The Gallery has been actively acquiring good strong examples of artworks by Ivy Fife that show her at her best over the past two years with an aim to have her better represented in the permanent collection. Four paintings and two linocuts have been acquired, works that will easily hold their own alongside examples by her Canterbury contemporaries Bill Sutton, Rita Angus, Leo Bensemann, Doris Lusk, Louise Henderson and Rata Lovell Smith.
Ralph Hotere’s art charted his journeys throughout Aotearoa and the world, reflecting on his experiences, identity and politics. As the first major survey exhibition of Hotere’s artistic career for over twenty years, Ātete celebrates his achievements and brings his vision to a new generation. It’s been a huge project to bring together so we thought it was timely to ask the four curators to tell us a little about their relationship with Hotere – how do they connect as individuals with the artist’s works, and the themes and the locations that they explore?
Peter Vangioni: It’s late June, and you haven’t been outside for 16 weeks? Is that right? How are you and Barbara coping with the shelter in place order and are you able to work under these conditions?
Max Gimblett: Well, I’ve been out to put the garbage out twice a week—I cross the pavement and come back to the door. Some people are out there walking with their masks. Barbara is super cautious, you know because of our age, we can’t even come close to anybody. But we are doing very well in this lockdown, and have no plans to leave the loft.
Every few years, the curatorial team at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū embarks on a major rehang of the first-floor collection area. It’s no small undertaking finding fresh ways to combine long-held, well-known works and new acquisitions, looking for combinations that will offer compelling viewing, immersive storytelling and intellectual engagement to our wide and evolving visitor base. This time, director Blair Jackson added another dimension to our task, challenging us to reimagine the physical orientation of the spaces to encourage visitors to interact with the architecture in a completely different way.
If you grew up in Christchurch before the city’s gasworks was decommissioned in 1982, you'll almost certainly remember the grimy industrial building that dominated the scene next to the Waltham Street overbridge. It was maybe the most industrialised site in the city, where dirty columns of smoke bellowed out from chimney stacks signalling coal being fired to create gas for residents and businesses. It was a subject that captivated painter Doris Lusk. She had previously painted the Dunedin Gasworks in around 1935, and also turned her hand to painting many other industrialised sites – hydroelectric stations, Christchurch’s Pumphouse, sluice mines at St Bathans, the wharf at Onekaka, and numerous roads and railways slicing their way through the green countryside.