Declaration: A Pacific Feminist Agenda

8 Great Art Exhibitions

From evocative painted landscapes to contemporary photography, art lovers have an abundance of exhibitions to revel in throughout the country this month. Keren Sim discovers some delightful displays to visit this autumn.

The Moon and the Manor House
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū

This exhibition focuses on the aestheticism and arts and crafts movements from the late 19th century. It draws together a collection of works celebrating the pursuit of beauty and the empowering mantra of ‘art for art’s sake’ – the idea that art deserves to be enjoyed for its own worth, without the need to underpin it with political, societal or any other purpose. Highlights on display as part of this exhibition include Gertrude Hammond’s A Reading From Plato (1903), Theodore Roussel’s L’agonie des fleurs (1890-95) and Sir Alfred East’s showstopping oil painting The Moon and the Manor House (1894). If you’re in Christchurch, make sure to stop by the gallery and soothe your art-loving soul with a visit to this exhibition, which runs until 18 September 2022.

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Raymond McIntyre: Portraits
New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata

Portraiture fans will love this collection from famed New Zealand expat painter Raymond McIntyre. In 1909, at the age of 30, the Christchurch-born artist spread his wings and moved to London, drawn to the allure of the international art scene. He never came back, instead choosing to hone his talents in the UK where he found fame for his simple and refined portraits modelled on the Japanese woodblock style, as well as his elegantly sparse landscapes. This exhibition of his works is on display now at Wellington’s Portrait Gallery te Pūkenga Whakaata, until 12 June 2022.

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Max Oettli: Visible Evidence, Photographs 1965-1975
Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki

There’s nothing quite like holding up a camera to the world to capture the authenticity of everyday life, and this collection of revolutionary snapshots from well-regarded Swiss-Kiwi photographer Max Oettli does just that – with a uniquely New Zealand twist. Oettli is known for his personal documentary style of photography, and Visible Evidence highlights the urban and social changes rippling across Aotearoa during the decade between 1965-1975. The black and white photographs (taken on 35mm cameras) show stirring scenes from private and public life throughout Tāmaki Makaurau, and were generously gifted by the photographer himself from his vintage archives. The exhibition is on display now until 29 May 2022.

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Max Oettli: Visible Evidence
Max Oettli: Visible Evidence, Photographs 1965–1975 Max Oettli, Girl Licking Escalator, 1971. Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of Max Oettli, through the Auckland Art Gallery Foundation, 2018

Declaration: A Pacific Feminist Agenda
Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki

There’s no denying the past few years have been a turbulent time of deep cultural and societal shifts, and this electric new exhibition takes a closer look at some of those changes through the lens of 12 leading artists from across the Pacific region. Featuring works from Jasmine Togo-Brisby, Marti Friedlander, Jessicoco Hansell, Taloi Havini and Lonnie Hutchinson among others, the exhibition’s unifying theme is the feminist agenda and its relation to issues such as climate change, activisim and tino rangatiratanga (sovereignty). If you’re looking for something contemporary and a little different, this is one worth checking out. The exhibition is on display, for free, at Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki, until 31 July 2022.

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Rare and Unrivalled Beauty: Landscape Paintings from the Kelliher Art Trust Collection
The Suter Art Gallery

With their expansive natural beauty, landscapes provide rich artistic ground for artists all over the globe – and New Zealand’s own stunning natural scenes provide plenty of inspiration. Fans of the art style will find much to enjoy in the new collection of selected landscapes from the Kelliher Art Trust, on display now at The Suter Art Gallery in Nelson. The Trust’s namesake, art patron Sir Henry Kelliher, described New Zealand’s countryside as being of “rare and unrivalled beauty”, and the 32 paintings in this collection certainly do justice to his words. The exhibition runs until 22 May 2022.

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Hurahia ana kā Whetū – Unveiling The Stars
Dunedin Public Art Gallery

This very special exhibition is a result of a significant collaboration, over more than two years, between the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Paemanu, a charitable trust advancing the goals of Ngāi Tahu artists. Hurahia ana kā Whetū – Unveiling the Stars is the result of this partnership and the first exhibition of its kind to be launched in Aotearoa, so it’s well worth visiting when it is unveiled on 12 June 2022. You can expect a varied range of artworks, combining viewpoints from different Māori and indigenous artists, with information from both Paemanu contributors and the curators of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery adding context to the work on display.

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Hurahia ana kā Whetū
Hurahia ana kā Whetū: Unveiling the Stars 2021. Installation view, Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Photo by Justin Spiers

Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award
Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato

The Kiingi Tuheitia Portraiture Award is a new competition providing a national platform for emerging Māori artists to create portraits of their ancestors, and celebrate their stories. The award was first launched in 2020 by the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in Wellington; now, an exhibition of the 2021 winners’ and finalists’ portraits is touring the country, including inaugural winner Bodie Friend’s striking portrait of his great-uncle Pat Kingi, entitled Nana Pat. If you missed out on the initial run in Wellington, you can see these marvellous works at Waikato’s Te Whare Taonga O Waikato museum, on display now until 8 May 2022. Entry is free.

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Heavenly Beings: Icons of the Christian Orthodox World
Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tāmaki

Religious icons have long been a source of artistic fascination, as well as an illuminating window into the culture and beliefs of societies. If you are a fan of this art style or interested in religious history, it’s well worth seeing this expansive new exhibition at the Auckland Art Gallery, which gathers works from the Orthodox Christian world spanning over 500 years, from 1350-1800. Feast your eyes on rare examples of this devotional art style, with influences from Russia, Greece, Macedonia, Italy, the Balkans, Ethiopia, Syria and Egypt. The exhibition is on display from 15 April and runs through to 2 October 2022.

More information:

Heavenly Beings
Heavenly Beings: Icons of the Christian Orthodox World
Saint George and the Dragon, Crete circa 1500 Egg tempera, gold leaf and gesso on wood. Private collection, Canberra

Feature image from Declaration: A Pacific Feminist Agenda. Credit: Marti Friedlander, United Women’s Convention, Hamilton 1979. E H McCormick Research Library, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, on loan from the Gerrard and Marti Friedlander Charitable Trust, 2002.

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