Tony Fomison

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1939, d.1990

Paparua, 1970

  • Pencil on paper
  • 305 x 210mm
  • 70/28
  • 1970

Although he is better known today for his paintings, Tony Fomison was also an accomplished draughtsman. In this drawing, his use of shading creates gentle contrasts of light and dark. Paparua is a self portrait – the artist has depicted himself while imprisoned at Paparua Prison, near Christchurch, for drug offences in August 1970. There is a look of boredom and detachment on Fomison’s face as he waits out his jail term before being released. Fomison was born in Christchurch and studied at the University of Canterbury School of Fine Arts between 1957 and 1960. He studied art in England and Europe on an Arts Advisory Board grant between 1964 and 1967. In 1973 he moved to Auckland where he remained until his death. His lifelong interest in Maori and Polynesian cultures is often reflected in his work.