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Islands in the sun

29 October 2003

Prints by indigenous artists of Australia and the Australasian region
Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu
31 October 2003 - 1 February 2004
W.A. Sutton and Ravenscar Galleries

Place in the sun for indigenous Artists

The first exhibition in the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu’s international summer programme, the evocatively titled Islands in the Sun, is a remarkable showcase of printmaking from across the Australasian region.

Islands in the Sun, a National Gallery of Australia Traveling Exhibition in collaboration with Cairns Regional Gallery and supported by Australian Air Express, opens at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu on Friday 31 October. The exhibition is part of an extensive touring programme developed by the National Gallery of Australia, which has included shows in Australia, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia and New Zealand.

Over 100 works will be included in the exhibition at the Christchurch Art Gallery, in what is the first major exploration of printmaking practice in the Australasian region. The collection includes works by indigenous artists from Arnhem Land, Bathurst and Melville Islands, Torres Strait Islands and Papua New Guinea. Also featured in the exhibition are works by established Maori and Pacific artists, including Michael Tuffery, Robin White, Marian Maguire, Robyn Kahukiwa and Patrice Kaikilekofe.

National Gallery of Australia Senior Curator, Australian Prints and Drawings, Roger Butler says Islands in the Sun is an a testament to the art of printmaking as a bringing-together and affirmation of indigenous culture.

" The arts flourish in these societies and there has been a renewed interest in traditional images, designs and narratives. New images and stories have also evolved, reflecting the changing times and the introduction of new technologies," says Roger Butler.

" Printmaking has proved vital in making the visual arts of these cultures widely accessible."

The artists have used a broad variety of printmaking techniques, including linocuts, woodcuts, screenprints and lithographs, reflecting both modern and traditional methods of expression. Also featured are a number of works which cross traditional geographic and cultural boundaries, such as A canoe of many passengers - a woodcut produced as part of a workshop run by Michael Tuffery, at the Banggu Minjaany Arts and Cultural Centre in 1998.

Christchurch Art Gallery Manager of Public Programmes, Hubert Klaassens says Islands in the Sun provides the ideal launch to the Gallery’s international summer programme.
" This extraordinary exhibition reinforces the Christchurch Art Gallery’s role in showcasing art from the Australasian and Pacific region," says Hubert Klaassens.

" We believe Christchurch audiences, and our visitors both local and international, will be engaged and inspired by Islands in the Sun."

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