Posts categorized as Art

One out of the glory box – An itsy bitsy teenie weenie….

Betty Curnow's bikini as worn on Shoal Bay during the 1950s. 
Photograph courtesy of Anna Miles.

Well not quite yellow polka dot but a bikini made from a shirt worn in one of New Zealand’s most iconic portraits. This treasured textile was shared by Auckland art dealer, Anna Miles, and is one of many images shared on Instagram and Twitter using our hashtags #Tivaevae #Textiletreasures   This bikini top belonged to… Read more »

How bazaar! J.F. Lewis and the Bezestein, El Khan Khalil, Cairo

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The English painter John Frederick Lewis (1804–1876)  was a fascinating and brilliant enigma to his contemporaries, and remains so today. He was certainly no pompous, verbose Victorian bore. At a dinner of the Society of Painters in Watercolours, Lewis delivered a memorable presidential address, rising from his seat, saying nothing, and promptly sitting down again…. Read more »

Rita Angus: The devil is in the detail

Surrealist painting by Rita Angus

Around 1945, Rita Angus painted a man sitting in an armchair, next to a table of books and a bunch of flowers. Nothing too strange so far, right? Except that there is a devil in a long purple robe creeping up behind him. Not to mention the huge spider crawling on the books, or the… Read more »

The other Princess Charlotte

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Nau mai ki te ao mārama, Pirinihi Hārata! Welcome to the world, Princess Charlotte of Cambridge, and may you prove a worthy spare for the heir, and a mini-feminist in your own right! The arrival of a baby daughter to the most famous woman in the world with an art history degree, the Duchess of… Read more »

Tony Whincup, photographer, 1944–2015

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We learnt with sorrow and regret that photographer and educator Tony Whincup passed away recently. Tony photographed periodically in the remote islands of the Pacific nation of Kiribati over four decades, creating an extensive photographic documentation of its people and their culture. Te Papa purchased 47 of Tony’s photographs on Kiribati dance in 2005, and at the time of… Read more »

Visual language workshop for teachers

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Last weekend primary and intermediate teachers from the Wellington region enjoyed taking part in a professional development workshop about visual language. Visual language is the language of images. Learning about visual language enables students to understand how visual elements such as shapes, colours, symbols etc. are combined to communicate meaning. During the workshop participants learnt a variety of approaches for teaching their students the skills… Read more »

The Gallery of Helen Hitchings – mixing the modern – art and design

‘Helen Hitchings inspecting a self -portrait on display in her Gallery’, circa 1950, by Photo News Ltd (Wellington, N.Z.). Te Papa (CA000124/001/0060)

When Helen Hitchings launched her gallery in 1949, it was a landmark moment for modernism in New Zealand. Te Papa celebrates this event with the exhibition in Ngā Toi /Arts Te Papa with the Gallery of Helen Hitchings. Former advertising assistant and theatre designer, Hitchings had established her dealer gallery in a converted warehouse space… Read more »

Prints fit for a prince: a missive to Prince Charles

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                    Sir, I realise that your punishing royal itinerary regrettably prevents any visit to these far-flung shores during Nga Toi Season 4. Nor does our digital technology as yet permit a truly intimate interaction with the delightful art works discussed below. However, I trust that this blog goes some way towards wafting you into a… Read more »

Introducing Spencer Westmacott: farmer, soldier, artist

Lieutenant Spencer Westmacott, 1914. Photographer unknown, courtesy of Yvonne Riddiford

Behind every man in uniform is a rich story. Spencer Westmacott (1885-1960) was an officer with the 16th Waikato Regiment which departed New Zealand for the First World War in October 1914. His story is the first that visitors will encounter in Te Papa’s new exhibition Gallipoli: The scale of our war opening on April 18…. Read more »