Things to do  |  4 Aug 2022

Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū is preparing for a major new exhibition showcasing works from its collection and several recent acquisitions.

Opening Saturday 6 August, Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection will present 150 works from 84 artists across its two-year run.

Works from Sriwhana Spong, Louisa Afoa, Ana Iti, Lisa Reihana, Fiona Pardington, Judy Darragh, Marilynn Webb, Kura Te Waru Rewiti, Rita Angus and Grant Lingard will be on display in the Gallery’s first major re-hang since 2020.

The new exhibition represents a deliberate effort to make space for artists and ideas that have previously been less visible in our public galleries.

“As is the case all around the world, what’s shown has reflected a relatively narrow perspective – primarily male, heterosexual and Western,” says Lead Curator Felicity Milburn.

“That’s a result of how art has been collected in the past, and whose stories were prioritised. We know, of course, that people with other experiences and backgrounds make art too, but often they’ve struggled to receive the same kind of attention.”  

“Perilous faces this head on, taking on the challenge – and welcoming the possibilities – of widening the lens to display a broader set of ideas.”

“The result is a fascinating, multi-faceted look at topics like self-image, whakapapa, sexuality, gender and language, with fresh and challenging voices joining the conversation,” says Ms Milburn.

“We hope our audiences, who also come from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences, will increasingly see themselves represented in at least some of the works that are on display.”

“We’re also excited to unveil a number of really significant works that have recently been added to the city’s public collection.”

“These include a fantastic grouping of works from the 1970s and 80s by some of the country’s most interesting photographers, with several based here in Ōtautahi Christchurch. This major acquisition – which includes works by Rhondda Bosworth, Jane Zusters, Fiona Clark and Margaret Dawson – was made possible through the generous support of the Gallery’s Friends organisation.”

Several artists will be showcased within the broader Perilous exhibition. The first artist spotlight will focus on the works of Grant Lingard (1961–95).

Lingard was born on the West Coast of the South Island and studied at the University of Canterbury. He often used ordinary objects in his works – beer flagons, Sunlight soap and even men’s Y-front underpants – to contrast his own experience as a gay man with the narrow expectations of masculinity that dominated Aotearoa New Zealand in the 1990s.

“In his brief but influential career, Lingard created a potent body of work that continues to engage and challenge. He really crow-barred a space in New Zealand’s macho, sports-heavy culture, and he did it with great humour and insight,” says Ms Milburn.

“Many of his best works are now held here in Christchurch.”

Lingard’s work will be on display as part of the Perilous exhibition until June 2023.

Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection opens Saturday 6 August at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. It features photography, ceramics, videos, paintings and sculptural installations. 

Pictured above, Shannon Te Ao Untitled (malady) (still) 2016. HD digital video file. Collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, gift of Sheelagh Thompson marking her 86th birthday and honouring director Jenny Harper's dedication to Christchurch Art Gallery during the five years of its closure after the 2010–11 Canterbury earthquakes.