Tony Fomison

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1939, d.1990

Night time, Amuri Bluff

  • Gift of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Wellington, 2002
  • Reproduced with permission
  • Oil on canvas
  • 520 x 970mm
  • 2002/267
  • c. 1976
  • View on google maps

Tony Fomison’s luminous, night time view of Haumuri Bluff on the Kaikōura coast is a weighted landscape little-related to scenic appreciation. It carries a sense of time and of Fomison’s connections to this locality and its past.

In 1959, while a twenty-year-old sculpture student at the University of Canterbury, Fomison began working with the Canterbury Museum as an assistant ethnologist and archaeologist. He worked on extensive archaeological explorations of Māori settlements and early whaling sites near Kaikōura and on Banks Peninsula, and surveyed rock art sites throughout Canterbury. Haumuri, a Māori settlement site, was also the setting for a short-lived whaling station from 1844.

Something of Fomison’s motivation in painting is conveyed in his comment: “Given that the practitioner has a knowledge of our history, it can also be an opportunity to project an uncontaminated view of the past into the future.” (Kā Honoka, 18 December 2015 – 28 August 2016)