Past and Present - A focus on New Zealand heritage. March/April 2018

Posted by Fiona Cable on

Paintings by prominent artists with an interest in the protection and restoration of Auckland buildings and beyond. 

For years, physical traces of history in Auckland have been scrubbed off like dead skin in a Turkish bath. In a city fixated with development, the few old buildings that are still standing are all the more precious for surviving the purge. Yet destruction continues. Four Auckland based artists are concerned about the protection and documentation of our New Zealand heritage. This art exhibition highlights our cherished icons such as Rangitoto baches, the Esplanade Hotel, St Mary’s Bay villas, trams and cottages at Motat, to name a few.

EsplanadeGDowns          StMarysBayMDewhurst              AstorJHorner

As artist David Barker succinctly puts it, “the images in this exhibition show something of this precarious and often threatened heritage. These works become part of a valuable inventory, described with great care. In them lies an archival documentation worth retaining as it touches us all, however brief our history.” 

These images have emotional resonance, functioning as commentaries on the architecture and craftsmanship of a by-gone era. One particularly stunning work, the villa at 28 Cheltenham Rd, shows perfectly elegant lattice work and balustrades, set in what would have been pristine gardens with forlorn palm trees rising above the two-storey historic home. Smudged in grey and raw umber, a sense of doom sweeps over the painting as if knowing its pending demise.


What better way to capture the essence of our past and preserve it for future generations. Come face-to-face with our past, unlock our unique stories and help our heritage survive.

Heritage New Zealand will receive a percentage of sales, 

“Brendon Veale, Manager of Asset Funding for Heritage New Zealand says the Past and Present exhibition and its core theme of protecting heritage is a great fit for the organisation and they are pleased to get behind it.  Any financial support that comes from the exhibition will help Heritage New Zealand to protect this country’s unique heritage and historic places.”

Featured artists: David Barker, John Horner, Graham Downs and Murray Dewhurst.

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