FIELDTRIPPERS – Friends of the Tauranga Art Gallery visit Auckland galleries!


Friend of the Gallery, Shirley Arabin writes:- It was a new experience for me to take a bus trip to an art exhibition and the trip to Auckland to see My Country – Contemporary Art from Black Australia with the Friends of the Gallery was a worthwhile day out. It is no longer a comfortable experience to drive a car in Auckland so that helped to make the bus trip relaxing.


I went without preconceived ideas of what I might see – perhaps there would be dot paintings but as a frequent visitor to the State Gallery in Brisbane I had seen quite different Aboriginal art at times. However, I was surprised at the variety of media used making each room we entered a surprise. Photography had been used in several ways, sometimes with colour added rather than being in the original image. The area I revisited in the time available showed the use of video illustrating how the western view of the aboriginal in early photographs could be changed from the noble savage in the photographer’s idea of ‘’native’ costume to an entirely western dressed up person. There was an eerie similarity to 19th century Maori photographed for post card prints.

A brisk walk up hill and down to the GUS FISHER GALLERY ( I am sure there is a street we could have cut through) made some of us too late to hear the discussion on the future of printing but the article on display from some of the independent printers like GRIFFIN PRESS were interesting in their own right.

A welcome pick up by the bus then took us to the WEBB GALLERY in Manukau Road. The variety of art on sale was a surprise to those of us for whom this was a first visit to an auction house. They were generous handing out catalogues and I thought most people in the group seemed to fixate on at least one work they liked. It was Dick Frizzell’s appropriation of Les Demoiselles d’Avignon that took my eye although I knew it would only be a Lotto win that could enable me to buy it, and a bigger house to hang it in. It was interesting to see who the people were who were seriously looking at the jewellery items. They were not in our group and mainly appeared to be new immigrants or visitors, arriving in family groups by taxi as I noted as I returned to the bus.

Gerald organised the day well and all those present congratulated him on a job well done when we arrived home.

Shirley Arabin, genealogist and historian writes for the Historic Review, BOP Journal of History and the Tauranga Historical Society blog. She has had articles published in Ireland and Australia. An inveterate visitor to galleries and museums wherever she travels. A volunteer at the Tauranga Heritage Collection.


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