Welcome to the summer issue of Bulletin. In it we celebrate the opening of our new exhibition Te Puna Waiora: The Distinguished Weavers of Te Kāhui Whiritoi. This major show is the most significant showcase of Māori weaving to be displayed in Ōtautahi Christchurch since we were privileged to host Toi Māori: The Eternal Thread / Te Aho Mutunga Kore in 2007. For Bulletin, Patricia Te Arapo Wallace, adjunct senior fellow for the Aotahi School of Māori and Indigenous Studies at the University of Canterbury, writes about the process of Māori weaving; its decline during nineteenth-century colonisation and its eventual recovery leading to the creation of the Kāhui Whiritoi in 2005. This group was formed to acknowledge the mana of Aotearoa’s master weavers, and their works are further celebrated in the major new publication the Gallery has produced to accompany the exhibition.
Also in this magazine is an interview between leading New Zealand photographer Mark Adams, local pottery historian Barry Hancox and Gallery curator Ken Hall. Together they discuss Christchurch’s industrial past, and in particular the work of local potter Luke Adams. Poet Bernadette Hall shares some of her memories of her friend and collaborator, artist Joanna Margaret Paul, who is the focus of another substantial exhibition on display. Joanna Margaret Paul: Imagined in the context of a room is toured by the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, and we’re delighted to be able to host such a fine retrospective of Paul’s work.
If you’ve been in the Gallery recently you will almost certainly have seen Reuben Paterson’s The Golden Bearing – a life-sized hand-sculpted tree in glittering gold. Trees have long been the subject of art, and in this magazine Jasmine Gallagher examines some of the trees from our collection, looking for meaning and context. Our My Favourite comes from multidisciplinary artist, producer, educator and researcher Juanita Hepi, who selects a work by Lisa Reihana. And our Pagework is supplied by muralist, painter, illustrator and publisher Xoë Hall. Hall is also a founding member of the Dream Girls Collective, and you will soon be able to see a new work from her on our Bunker.
In this issue, we pay tribute to Judith MacFarlane (née Gifford), a much loved and respected mainstay of the Ōtautahi Christchurch arts scene who co-founded the Brooke Gifford Gallery with Barbara Brooke in 1975. She helped launch the careers of a number of artists who are now household names, and this gallery’s collection has benefitted greatly from the addition of works purchased from the Brooke Gifford over the years. We hear from some of the artists she represented, and curators Felicity Milburn and Peter Vangioni select some key works from our collection that owe their place on our walls to Judith.
Behind the scenes at Bulletin, there have been a number of significant changes in how we produce the magazine. Our long-standing print partner Ovato NZ has unfortunately closed its Christchurch printworks, making it impractical for us to continue that relationship, so we have regretfully parted ways. I’d like to thank the team at Ovato for all their care and support for this institution over the eight years we have been working with them. We’re pleased, however, that a long-established Christchurch print institution has stepped willingly into the breach and we are excited to be moving forward with the team at Caxton. Caxton have a rich history of producing exciting work in the arts, and this feels like a natural step to take. This issue also marks the beginning of our new relationship with Leon White Design and the design school at Ara Institute of Canterbury. Our thanks to Leon and his team for their excellent work so far and we look forward to seeing Bulletin develop as the student interns come on board over the coming year.
These are challenging times for all of us, and it’s hard to know what the future might hold, or how to plan ahead in any meaningful way. However, we are working hard to continue to bring you a rich and exciting programme of exhibitions and events. I thank you all for your cooperation as you adhere to the public health guidelines in our building. Our public programmes team are working within the Government frameworks to provide art experiences for you, so please check our website and social media for details as the restrictions around numbers mean these fill up fast. I hope you all enjoy the summer and your Christmas and New Year period-perhaps you will get the chance to relax and read one of the books recommended in this magazine!