Bill Hammond

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1947

Waiting for Buller. Bar

  • On loan to the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu from the artist
  • Acrylic on canvas
  • 1199 x 800mm
  • L06/2004
  • 1993

These bird people, for whom Bill is so well known, began to appear in his work around 1993 in paintings such as this one. As the title implies, these characters can be seen to represent Aotearoa New Zealand’s indigenous birds waiting for the arrival of nineteenth-century colonial ornithologists (or, as Bill has called them, bird stuffers) like Walter Buller. Buller and his ilk caused New Zealand’s bird numbers to decline dramatically or disappear altogether as they killed and collected as many species as possible for study and taxidermy. It was a lucrative trade. Bill’s bird people in Waiting for Buller. Bar look ready for a fight, however, as they pass the time drinking and shooting pool on a mountainous table in a seedy bar.

Bill Hammond: Playing the Drums (3 August 2019 – 19 January 2020)