Undreamed Of...

50 Years of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship

5 November 2016 - 26 February 2017

Undreamed of … 50 Years of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship commemorates the 50th anniversary of the University of Otago’s Frances Hodgkins Fellowship. The exhibition, hung in both the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Hocken Collections, includes work by all 48 of the Fellows and offers a snapshot of the rich diversity of artists and art practices that have been fostered by the Fellowship – painting, sculpture, printmaking, photography and digital media are all represented.  Recent works by many of the artists will be shown alongside those made during the Fellowship, revealing how their practice has developed over the intervening years.  

This present line of work is good… I have got well into the spirit of the place & it is yielding up riches – undreamed of, at first sight… 

So wrote artist Frances Hodgkins to Lucy Wertheim in 1930, from Flatford Mill in Suffolk. The stimulus of new surroundings allied with the financial support she so often needed made this an exceptionally productive time for Hodgkins.  

Those same conditions are what the founders of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship determined to offer New Zealand artists. The Fellowship was established at the University of Otago, largely through the efforts of Dunedin writer and publisher Charles Brasch who, with other philanthropists, contributed funding to support the Fellowship in years to come.  The Fellowship was intended to ‘encourage artists in the practice and advancement of their art’ by providing them with a studio and a year’s stipend. Like the Mozart and Burns Fellowships, it was one means by which Brasch sought to foster a cultural identity in and of New Zealand.  

The first Fellowship was awarded to Michael Illingworth in 1966. In all, there have been 49 Fellows, all of whom are represented in Undreamed of …, most of them by a work completed during the time of their residency as well as a more recent example of their art practice. All have benefited from their time in Dunedin and, more broadly, the development of their art practice has enriched this country’s cultural landscape, paying precisely those dividends the founding benefactors had anticipated. 

Curated by Priscilla Pitts.

Download the exhibition guide

Undreamed of …50 Years of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship showed jointly at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and at the Hocken Library [90 Anzac Avenue, Dunedin]. 

Presented in partnership by the Hocken Library, Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

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