TRANSITIONS

Aotearoa to London

31 May 2024 - 3 November 2024

In 2023, the Dunedin Public Art Gallery acquired Bill Culbert’s Tug, Barges, Thames (1961) for the permanent collection. Painted in 1961, this early career work was produced the year after he graduated from the Royal College of Art in London. Culbert spent three years studying painting at the Royal College of Art, supported by a National Art Gallery Travelling Scholarship that he was awarded in 1957. This scholarship, funded through the New Zealand Government, provided an opportunity for art students ‘who had shown exceptional ability and promise’ to complete three years of arts training outside Aotearoa New Zealand. Whether through this programme, other financial initiatives or of one’s own volition, many New Zealand artists sought overseas training in London at this time.

Bringing together work from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery collection, this exhibition places Tug, Barges, Thames into a dialogue with Culbert’s photography from the early 2000s. From the late 1950s onward, Culbert spent much of his working life living in London and southern France, and this time spent overseas was clearly evident across his practice. Viewed alongside are a wider group of artists from Aotearoa who also spent time studying at art schools in London, from the late-1940s to the mid-1960s, including Billy Apple, Melvin Day, John Drawbridge, Rona Dyer, Pat Hanly, Ralph Hotere, Joanna Margaret Paul, Matt Pine, and Susan Skerman. This exhibition offers insight into the significance of London as a hub for artists from Aotearoa during the mid-20th century.

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I te tau 2023 i riro i Te Whare Toi Tūmatawhānui o Ōtepoti ki tāhana kohika toi pūmau a Tug, Barges, Thames (1961) nā Bill Culbert. I peitahia i te tau 1961, i oti i a ia tēnei mahi i te tīmataka o āhana mahi toi, tētahi tau a muri atu i tana whakapōtaetaka i te Kura Toi o te Karauna i Rānana. E toru tau te roa o tā Culbert aro atu ki te mahi peita i a ia i te Kura Toi o te Karauna, i tautokona ia e te Karahipi Hāereere o te Ahurewa Toi ā-Motu i whakawhiwhia ki a ia i te tau 1957. Nā tēnei karahipi, nā te pūtea tautoko o te Kawanataka o te Aotearoa, te wheako nui o te whakakuku ki tāwahi ki tētahi tauira toi, ‘ko whakaatuhia āhana pūkeka okotahi, tōhona pitomata’ anō hoki o te whakakuku ki tāwahi tou o Aotearoa i whakatau. Nā te aro atu ki tēnei hōtaka, te kohi rānei i te pūtea i wāhi kē atu, nā te māia tou o taua takata rānei, e kaha whai wāhi ana kā rika toi o Aotearoa kā wheako whakakuku ki Rānana i taua wā.

Ko te whakaemihaka o kā mahika toi nā te kohika o Te Whare Toi Tūmatawhānui, ka whakatakotoria e tēnei whakaaturaka Tug, Barges, Thames ki te matapakika ki ā Culbert whakaahua nō te upoko o te kahuru tau 2000. Mai i te whiore o te kahuru tau 1950, ā mohoa nei, i noho, i mahi hoki a Culbert ki Rānana, ki Wīwī ki te toka, ko tēnei wā roa ki tāwahi, ā, tārake ana te kite i kā hua o taua noho ki āhana mahi peita. Kai te taha tou o ēnei mahi ko tētahi tira whānui o kā rika toi o Aotearoa i whai wāhi hoki ki kā kura toi ki Rānana i te whiore o te kahuru tau 1940 ki te puku o te kahuru tau 1960, tae noa atu ki Billy Apple, rātau ko Melvin Day, ko John Drawbridge, ko Rona Dyer, ko Pat Hanly, ko Ralph Hotere, ko Joanna Margaret Paul, ko Matt Pine, ko Susan Skerman. He tirohaka hākai tēnei ki te nui whakaharahara o Rānana hai pūtahi mō kā rika toi nō Aotearoa nō te puku tou o te rautau 1900.

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