Muka Studio Lithographs

9 June – 30 July 1989

Frans Baetens and Magda Van Gils came to New Zealand in 1983 and started lithographic printing in Auckland, opening their own workshop the following year. They called it the Muka Studio taking the name from the Maori word for 'flax'. 'Muka' is also used in the Maori language to refer to the way in which an 'atua' or unknown spirit/inspiration comes into contact with the people. As many of the best handmade papers are made from flax they felt that 'muka' was an ideal name for their studio.

In 1985 they bought Tony Fomison's house s in Auckland and, with the instigation of Tony Fomison and Pat Hanly, they also started a Gallery. The Muka Studio Gallery soon had over 50 well-known artists exhibiting and working in lithography with them. This exhibition of 24 Muka Lithographs will feature artists such as Dick Frizzell, Pat Hanly, Tony Fomison, Richard McWhannell, Philippa Blair, Satu Feu and Para Matchett, all of whom have clear connections with the South Island says Frans Baetens.

We are also organising a special evening for children in conjunction with a special set of children's prints from Muka. On Friday evening June 30 at 5.30 p.m. Christchurch school children will be invited to come to the Gallery to learn a little more about the lithographic process and, if they wish, to purchase a small print by a significant New Zealand artist for the incredible price of only $30. This will be their special opportunity to begin their own art collection. Invitations to this evening will be organised by the Gallery in conjunction with the schools and parents wishing to know more about the special children's evening are requested to contact the Gallery Education Officer.

('Muka Studio Lithographs', Bulletin, No.63, May/June 1989, p.2)