Russell Clark

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1905, d.1966

Potato Planting

Christchurch-born Russell Clark was a painter, sculptor, illustrator and university lecturer who had an enduring interest in Māori art, culture and history. He had a long association with the School Journal, and was its principal illustrator for many years. In 1950 he travelled to Te Urewera in the northeast of the North Island as part of a commissioned project, Ruatahuna, a primary school bulletin focused on a small town in the heart of the Ngāi Tūhoe rohe (district). Clark’s illustrations were printed alongside texts by local school students, including one by Milly Manihera about the centuries-old practices of potato production, which involved the whole community from planting to harvest. Describing long-held custom, she noted that those potatoes kept for eating were “put in a pit dug in a shed out of the weather and used as they are needed.”

(Turn, Turn, Turn: A Year in Art, 27 July 2019 – 8 March 2020)

earlier labels about this work
  • Beneath the ranges,18 February – 23 October 2017

    Christchurch-born Russell Clark was a painter, sculptor, illustrator and university lecturer who had an enduring interest in Māori art, culture and history.

    In 1950 he travelled to Te Urewera in the northeast of the North Island for an illustration project for the School Publications Branch of the government’s Education Department. The commission was for 'Ruatahuna', a primary school bulletin focused on a small town in the heart of the Ngāi Tūhoe rohe, a region experiencing change.

    The journal placed Clark’s illustrations alongside text by local school students, including Milly Manihera who explained the centuries-old practices of potato production, involving the whole community from planting to harvest. Describing long-held custom, she noted that those potatoes “kept for eating are put in a pit dug in a shed out of the weather and used as they are needed”.