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Archive for November, 2011

Washday – 2011

I have recently got my hands on a  copy of ‘Washday at the Pa’. This is the 2011 edition of Ans Westra’s photo essay originally taken in 1963 for the school journal. The exhibition is currently on at Suite Gallery and they have republished the photos with text by Mark Amery and additional 1998 photos of the Washday family revisited.

The original publication created much controversy

 “following protests by the Maori Women Welfare League Washday at the Pa [school journal] was controversially withdrawn from circulation by the Department of Education. The League condemned Westra’s depiction of the poor, rural Maori family living in sub-standard housing as untruthful and inaccurate. “

Interestingly the Welfare league has now withdrawn its objections.

There is a great interview with Ans Westra here [Podcast] from Radio NZ Nights with Bryan Crump

I guess this is a sort of cultural artifiact as well as an artistic one and I like to think (although I am possibly wrong) that we are mature enough now as a nation to see these photos in context. Also I’ve been thinking about women in the arts in NZ and how they had/have such a struggle and often were subject to undue criticism. Watch this space for more on that topic.

Get this book and/or see the exhibition – 26 October – 26 November 2011, Suite Gallery, Level 2, 147 Cuba Street
Wellington

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A few weeks back I drove out on the Otago Peninsula. It is a lovely landscape and features in many NZ artworks e.g.


Florence And Harbour Cone (1974) by Robin White
Collection of the Christchurch Art Gallery

I was reminded of another Robyn and her project and “the idea of a travel guide from the 1968 being recontextualised in 2010”. I have really enjoyed Robyn’s posts on her journeys and was lucky enough to find a copy of the 1968 guide for myself for 50c.

The fascinating thing for me about this guide is the artwork. A travel guide, illustrated with paintings by Garth Tapper,Juliet Peter, Doris Lusk and Colin McCahon! Also photographs by Brian Brake and Marti Friedlander (amongst others)

The Otago section starts with a McCahon.


[Three Otago Landscapes: Cover design for The Shell Guide to New Zealand edited by Maurice Shadbolt], (1968) Colin McCahon

I love the idea around using these paintings, although I hope people didn’t take the artists’ interpretation of the landscape too literally.

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