Certain images, art objects and art styles have embedded themselves in the consciousness of many New Zealanders. But why and how have they become part of our visual vocabulary? Oliver Stead has had the difficult task of not only selecting 40 of these iconic works but putting them into a context of New Zealand art history.
For early Maori, art was inseparable from daily life, whether it was the pattern on a sculpted spade handle or the magnificently carved prow of a war canoe. Julie Paama-Pengelly traces the evolution of art and design in historic Maori culture and brings that art to life, focusing on four major disciplines:
– Weaving and fibre arts: includes tukutuku, kitemaking, basketry, netting and clothing
– Painting and pigmentation: includes rock drawing and painting wooden objects
– Sculpture and carving: includes stone, bone, wood carving and patterning
– Architecture and structural arts: includes villages, storage and meeting houses, burial structures and bone containers.
Features well-known New Zealand writers, poets, novelists, and even an economist, who write about their favourite local artist. This work includes a graphic essay (Dylan Horrocks on Barry Linton) and two poems (Jenny Bornholdt on Mary Macfarlane and Anne Kennedy on John Reynolds); and other essays such as Fiona Farrell on Gavin Bishop.