Jane Zusters

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1951

Pink nude in a blue pool

  • 1979
  • C type colour photographic print
  • Gift of the Friends of Christchurch Art Gallery, 2022, in celebration of their 50th Anniversary 1971-2021
  • 205 x 255mm
  • 2022/058

Ōtautahi artist Jane Zusters works across painting, photography and ceramics. These recently acquired photographs capture Jane’s bohemian life and friends in Christchurch in the late-1970s, and precede a period when she was mainly painting. Tender and intimate, they give us a sense of warm friendships and a supportive community, despite the conservatism of Christchurch at the time, and they address queer histories, gender and identity. Portrait of a woman marrying herself challenges the expectation that women should marry, presenting instead a ceremony of self-care and respect. We see a truncated nude figure in the pool, staying afloat through curling her toes under the handrail; her friend breastfeeding her child; and another friend dressing up. While these works share the formal elements of her painting, such as strong composition, contrast or colour, they are also an important social record of the times.

(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )

Exhibition History