Selected works by Bill Sutton considered from a Kāi Tahu perspective.
This exhibition considers a well-loved series of works and examines how a place can become an artist’s central subject. The commitment Sutton showed Te Tihi o Kahukura, also known as Castle Rock, a prominent outcrop of rock on the hills above the Christchurch suburb of Ferrymead, might be compared to Cézanne’s long-term observation of Mont Sainte-Victoire. We see these places through the eyes of artists who have sat observing a mountain and returned to it again and again in memory.
Te Tihi o Kahukura translates as the citadel of Kahukura. Kahukura is the atua (god) whose role in the Kāi Tahu creation story is the adorner of the land, cloaking it in forests filled with birds and other wildlife. Sutton’s vision represents one way of knowing the land; the oral histories handed down by whakapapa (ancestral lineage) constitute another way of knowing
- Curator: Nathan Pohio
- Exhibition number: 1036
W.A. Sutton: Watercolours of Italy
An exhibition featuring a selection of works from Bill Sutton's 1973–4 Italian sojourn, highlighting his exquisite skill as a draughtsman and watercolourist.
Picturing the Peninsula
A selection of works by some of New Zealand’s most significant historical and contemporary artists responding to the unique landscapes of Banks Peninsula Te Pataka o Rakaihautu.
This painting by Bill Sutton expands our view of a familiar site on Christchurch’s Port Hills, encouraging the viewer to consider what mysteries may have been present before the arrival of Māori tangata whenua, the people of the land. Te Tihi o Kahukura, or the Citadel of Kahukura, is the first name of Castle Rock, the foregrounded point at the left of the painting. The extended Māori name translates as ‘the Citadel of the Rainbow God (and a) sky full of boiling clouds roaring around all over the place’. According to Kāi Tahu tradition, Kahukura is the atua, or god, who clothed the land; Kahukura later transformed to become the atua of rainbows. Here, Sutton’s interest in landscape, light and colour is applied to a location of significance for Māori. There is an intimacy in the site for Sutton, as he was able to see it “from my upstairs back-landing window”. Sutton’s house remains in what is now known as ‘the red zone’, an earthquake-battered place of an undetermined future.
(Te Tihi o Kahukura: The Citadel of Kahukura, 18 Februay 2017 - 18 May 2018)
William Sutton often travelled from his home in Christchurch to the Port Hills, where he made watercolours of amazing crispness and observational skill. In the ambitious series ‘Te Tihi o Kahukura and sky’, Sutton worked his watercolour sketches up into oil paintings of heroic scale and dramatic mood. Even by the standards of the series, this painting is unusual for its uncanny lighting and direct acknowledgement of Kahukura, the Māori spirit guardian who gives the rocky outcrop at the right its name. Rain clouds brew above the hills, as if preparing to reveal Kahukura in his physical form – a rainbow. (Brought to Light, November 2009)
The Devil’s Blind Spot: Recent Strategies in New Zealand Photography
Recent photography by an emerging generation of New Zealand artists.