A Home Away from Home (2018)
In March/April 2018 I will be undertaking the Anzac Fellowship Artist Residency at NZ Pacific Studios. During this residency (and beyond) I'm going to be artistically investigating the Aotea Convalescent Home for NZ soldiers in Heliopolis, Cairo. As an extension of my 'Sand in the Apricot Jam' project (see below) I wanted to explore the role of New Zealand women in WW1 and while looking at my grandfathers service record I found that he was being cared for at Aotea Home. This led my on an interesting journey of discover about the women who were responsible for this home.
The Grimm Project -onging (2015-
UPDATE: 2017 while I was artist in residence at Samuel Marsden College I continued my painterly investigation of the Grimm's fairytale. It was a really rewarding experience working with the students and sharing my practice with them. During the residency I went back to using canvas as a ground which I'd abandoned in preference to paper – I must admit I think I might continue using it.
As in the well-known fairy tales, themes of right and wrong, good and tyranny are woven into my artistic practice. In the works of the Grimm Project you are invited into the narrative through the combination of different painterly techniques, from sketchy drawings to overlapping layers of thickly painted colour.
A series of chance encounters formed the impetus behind this project – the discovery of the Brothers Grimm museum in Kassel, Germany; an unexpected visit to their gravesite in Schöneberg, Berlin; a chance introduction a year or so later to Phillip Pullman's collection of fairy tales, ‘Grimm Tales for Young and Old’. These encounters fuelled what I called The Grimm Project and led to the creation of a group of painted works that interpret tales from Pullman's collection.
For these works, I wanted to further encourage the idea of chance, which was so instrumental in the project’s inception. Via social media I invited others to give me two things: a number between a given range and a photo of a favourite landscape. I used the number supplied to select a tale from the corresponding page in Pullman's book, which I would then visually interpret through painting. The landscape photo given was used to influence my colour palette.
This compelled me to work outside of my favoured palette and be more experimental with the use of colour. Rather than simply illustrating the main plot of the stories, I felt I wanted to be receptive to the elements of the story that most strongly resonated with me, those that appealed (or appalled), and to allow for everyday influences to weave their way through.
And the paintings from this project can be viewed in the Gallery
Sand in the Apricot Jam (2014 – 2018)
Sand in the Apricot Jam is a visual arts project commemorating 100 years since WWI.
The theme of the work acknowledges the role of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles in WWI in the Middle East, As well as their contribution at Gallipoli. My grandfather served with the Auckland Mounted Rifles and was wounded at Gallipoli. He returned to serve with his regiment until the end of the war. You can keep up to date on this project by visiting Sand in the Apricot Jam or by reading the blog on this project.
This project started it's journey at Expressions Whirinaki Art Centre in Upper Hutt where I was artist in residence. Working on the large scale paintings within the gallery space. 4 large scale paintings make up this body of work and each represent a different aspect of the NZ Mounted Rifles role in the Middle East campaign of WW1.
The exhibition then went on to tour NZ. It was shown at the National Army Museum in Waiouru in 2016 and the Waikato Museum in 2017.
While it journeyed through New Zealand I thought how fantastic it would be to take the work to the land in which they fought 100 years ago. I was determined to try to make it happen and after a lot of ground work I received an offer to exhibit the work at the Museum of Rishon LeZion. This was wonderful! in November 1917 the Anzacs liberated the village of Rishon LeZion and the people of the village welcomed them warmly. That was just the beginning of the jouney to try to get the artwork to Israel. I needed to crowdfund to achieve this and yah my community got behind me and I successfully raised what I needed. In October 2017 the exhibition was opened by the Governor General of New Zealand Rt Hon. Dame Patsy Reddy. It was fabulous to be able to be there for the opening and to attend the other WW1 centenary commemorations happening in Israel at the time.