Ralph Hotere protest piece sells for $183,000

Vive Aramoana_Ralph Hotere

International Art Centre director Richard Thomson with Ralph Hotere’s painting Vive Aramoana. Photo: Jason Oxenham/Fairfax NZ

When I came across this article online, I thought it was great. It just goes to show that visual art like this has a lasting voice and presence. It will still speak for generations.

“A Ralph Hotere [Hone Papita Raukura “Ralph” Hotere] artwork depicting the fight to stop an aluminium smelter being built at Aramoana sold for $183,000 at an auction in Auckland in November 2012.

The work, Vive Aramoana, was part of an 11-piece collection that once hung in the historic Carey’s Bay Hotel, in Port Chalmers, and was sold by the International Art Centre in Parnell.”

“The artist painted Vive Aramoana in the early 1980s as part of the protest movement to stop an aluminium smelter being built at the entrance to Otago Harbour.”

He also produced the series protesting against a controversial rugby tour by New Zealand of apartheid-era South Africa (Black Union Jack) in 1981, and the sinking of the Greenpeace flagship Rainbow Warrior (Black rainbow) in 1985. More recently, his reactions to Middle-East politics have resulted in works such as Jerusalem, Jerusalem and This might be a double cross jack. (Sourced from Wikipedia)

Angela Singer

Artwork by Angela Singer

Artwork by Angela Singer

I have been intrigued by Angela Singers thought provoking pieces ever since I found her work. They are hauntingly beautiful and unique.

I found this written about Singer and her artwork in an article online.

“Those not acquainted with New Zealand-based artist and animal rights activist Angela Singer will soon, after a few glances, see what they’ve been missing.While a strident activist against all forms of animal cruelty—including vivisection—much of her recent artwork is made from discarded hunting trophies and other taxidermy that strives to illuminate human exploitive tendencies of the rest of the animal kingdom. It’s a chilling effect; these carcasses highlight how grotesque natural beauty can become after suffering at the hands of humanity.” (read more here)

And this is the artist statement from her facebook page:

Over the years she has developed a solid reputation built on a body of work that fearless of aesthetic conventions has challenged us all to look at animals with different eyes. In her continuous attack to our preconceived perception and understanding of animals, Singer does not allow herself to work with living animals, nor have living creatures killed or otherwise harmed for her art. All the animal materials used in her art are old, donated and/or discarded as refuse.

Hedgerow 2010, by Angela Singer. Recycled vintage taxidermy fox and mixed media.

Hedgerow 2010, by Angela Singer. Recycled vintage taxidermy fox and mixed media.

Over her career, the concern with hunting and our moral and ethical approach to animal has clearly played a pivotal role. “Working with the history of each particular animal”, she says “I aim to recreate something of its death by hunt.” (Sourced from Angela Singers facebook page, along with the photos)

Angela Singer was born in England, but now lives in Wellington, New Zealand.

(More info from here)

Don Binney

Sadly on 14th September 2012, this well-known New Zealand artist passed away.

He had a special connection with the land & was able to depict this beautifully in his work.

The Diversion Gallery wrote this about Binney:

Don Binney needs little introduction to art lovers – or the New Zealand public – so distinctive are his iconic paintings and drawings of birds and landforms. In a career spanning more than 40 years, his commitment to ornithology, environmental issues and spiritual connection with the land has driven his art practice. (sourced from here)

And these pieces are from a story on Stuff.co.nz that was written remembering the artists life after he had passed away.

“Judy Hanbury said Binney’s love of the environment was rooted in his boyhood. He saw his first shining cuckoo in Kohimarama and never lost the joy of hearing the first one of spring.

That love would feed into his conservation efforts that saw him engage with many trusts dedicated to protecting New Zealand’s flora and fauna.” (Source: Stuff)

View some of his paintings here.

We’re not getting out of here alive OR The Land Show

We're not getting out of here alive flyer.

We’re not getting out of here alive flyer.

A group exhibition held at the Blue Oyster Art Gallery, Dunedin (Nov-Dec 2012) with two titles ‘We’re not getting out of here alive,’ or, ‘The Land Show.’

Again- these artists and their artworks confront us on the effects we have on this Earth.

Artists included: Max Bellamy, Kate Belton, Mark Bolland, Sophie Jerram, Mizuho Nishioka, Karim Sahai, Johnathon Titheridge, Sebastian Warne, Jane Zusters curated by Jamie Hanton.

The exhibition draws on Timothy Morton’s contention in Ecology without Nature that:

“Nobody likes it when you mention the unconscious…because when you mention it, it becomes conscious. In the same way, when you mention the environment, you bring it into the foreground. In other words, it stops being the environment. It stops being That Thing Over There that surrounds and sustains us. When you think about where your waste goes, your world starts to shrink.” (Ecology without Nature, Harvard University Press, 2006, p.1)

By highlighting the drastic and irreversible actions others have taken in their attempts to claim a proprietary or capitalistic dominion over the land we are left to contemplate what might be done in response.

(Read more here, see more pictures here)

ARTISTS as ACTIVISTS: Fighting for our environment

Sam Mahon - “Escape”

Sam Mahon – “Escape”

This was an exhibition (late 2010) that I stumbled across while surfing the net, and thought was really interesting. It also fits in perfectly with the topic of this blog.

The exhibition consisted of paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture by some of New Zealand’s leading artists, all of whom use their art to express their passion for our environment and sometimes to protest against its desecration.

It included works by Michael Smither, Don Binney, Nick Dryden, Grahame Sydney, Sam Mahon, Ian Hamlin, Dean Buchanan, Jane Zusters and members of the Academy. With poems by Brian Turner.

“As far as I know, this is the first time the work of so many of New Zealand’s leading artists has been brought together around the theme of environmental activism, protest and political ideas.” -curator Ian Hamlin

The idea of artist as protester is nothing new and the artist’s readiness to communicate the unspoken, to think beyond his or her own experience, to attempt to push the audience out of its comfort zone, and speak for those who do not dare, has created some of the most powerful artworks in the world. Here in New Zealand, artists are seldom far away from controversial issues and in recent times, the environment has been a particular driver for protest.

(read more here)

Bill Hammond

Bill Hammond is one of my personal favourite New Zealand artists.

And continuing to a simliar thread as the last post, some of Hammonds work also comments on human interaction with the birds & environment of this land.

One of the common themes in his paintings are the half animal/human creatures with avian heads and human limbs. They have quite an Egyptian look to them.

One website biography on Hammond said this:

‘Hammond’s work tackles social and environmental issues, conveying messages about humanity and its status as an endangered species.’ (source: Biography)

Endangerment: he looked back into New Zealand’s environmental history for his subject matter, drawing inspiration from the studies of Sir Walter Buller. The Buller paintings show us some of the ways in which birds have been forced to relate to us.

Birdlife: These works came about after Hammond returned from a trip to the remote Auckland Islands, where there are no people and birds still rule. (source: wikipedia)

(Photo: drift.net.nz )

Nigel Brown

One website that I found in my search said this about Brown:

Nigel Brown is acknowledged as a leading narrative artist whose distinctive works use a blend of symbolic and expressionistic approaches to voice deep social concern. Employing history, literature and politics as devices to draw attention to individual and environmental issues Nigel Brown conveys emotional and intuitive sympathy within the confines of the works in an accurate and incisive reading of the human condition.’ (sourced from here)

And another said this:

‘Ultimately, Brown is tilling our history and telling who we are (becoming) through our deeds. He reminds us again and again that everything is interconnected – the environment, the dreams of aspiration, the passage of time etc. He uses words as narrative devices, as architectural monuments and (ultimately) emblematically.’ (sourced from here)

Some of his pieces confront us about our effects on our country & the earth.

One painting called ‘We are water’ 2009 states: “Eh river we are sorry, we are largely water. If we don’t respect it, what do we respect? If we abuse rivers, we abuse ourselves.” (view painting here)

In another series called ‘Short Lives of Birds‘ one painting named’ Let’s Come to Terms With Birds’ says: “Let’s come to terms with birds, facing their extinction and our own. Mindful of our own purpose driven fate changing with the weather.”

Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA)- Cartoon competition

http://www.itsourfuture.org.nz, a website for kiwis concerned about the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA), launched a cartoon competition to draw attention to the Auckland round of TPPA negotiations.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) is one of the biggest political issues facing New Zealand but one of the least publicised and least understood. It involves eleven Asian and Pacific-rim countries – including the United States. It is being negotiated behind closed doors with no possibility of public oversight.

Read more here. View the cartoons that were entered here.

New Zealand Sculpture ON Shore III raises money for Woman’s Refuge

Artist, Joe Kemp's sculptural piece 'Matau A Maui'.Photo by Howard Williams.

Artist, Joe Kemp’s sculptural piece ‘Matau A Maui’. Photo by Howard Williams. Photo sourced from New Zealand Sculpture ON Shore Facebook page.

NZ Sculpture OnShore is an outdoor exhibition that happens every two years and is based in Auckland’s North Shore.

New Zealand artists from all different artistic backgrounds joined in to be a part of this event in 2012.

Money raised from this exhibition went towards Women’s Refuge.

Lake Rotorua artist Joe Kemp’s piece entitled Matau a Maui (the fish hook of Maui), took six weeks to make. The artwork represents the strength of women.

He said he was proud to support women and had chosen the fish hook as his main piece as legend states Maui made the fish hook used to bring up the North Island from his sorcerer grandmother’s jaw-bone. The theme of this year’s exhibition was the beach or the Year of the Menagerie, which the fish hook fitted well with, Mr Kemp said.

Read more here. See the gallery of artworks here.

Political posters by New Zealand street artist ‘Toothfish’

Toothfish-warAnti-capitalist posters by a New Zealand street artist have popped up in 35 countries around the world.

He goes by the name Toothfish and says like the endangered species he’d prefer to remain inconspicuous to save himself from mankind.

“Art itself is either undervalued or overvalued,” he says. “The value systems on this planet seem skewed and wrong and Toothfish is using art to attack some of these value systems.”

Toothfish is an eco-artist and international poster project who raises awareness of environmental/political issues by producing posters which are distributed internationally in both the real and virtual worlds.

Read more & see a video interview with Toothfish here. Above picture by Toothfish & sourced from here.