It’s April and I’ve begun my 3 week residency at NZ Pacific Studios in Northern Wairarapa. My arts project is dedicated to the remarkable women who ran the Aotea Convalescent Home for New Zealand soldiers in Heliopolis, Egypt during WW1. It’s aim is also to honour the communities of Whanganui, Wairarapa and Rangitikei who supported the home. The project is called ‘A Home Away From Home‘ because that’s the term the soldiers affectionately gave it. You can read more extensive writing about the project here.
I stopped at the Clareville cemetery in Wairarapa on my way to the residency to pay my respects to Kate Booth a sister from Aotea. She is buried in the RSA area of the cemetery
Here I’ll post a few photos of work in progress as I begin to develop the individual paintings that will make up the body of work called ‘A Home Away From Home’
My studio at NZ Pacific Studios Residency – the Autumn sun flooding in
Friday 20th April update:
This week on my residency has been a great journey of discovery. Not only with experimenting with different media but also getting to know my nurses a little more and a remarkable connection between my grandfather and one of the soldiers connected to my Anzac bridge fellowship.
Studio shot of my works so far
Gareth Winter at the Wairarapa Archives has been a great help, a wealth of knowledge! Together we shared what information we had and with his help I’d discovered one of my nurses (Who I now feel I’m getting to know slowly) Lina McLaren had come from the Wairarapa not Whanganui which I’d mistakenly connected her with somewhere along the way. She married a Major she’d met at Aotea called Allan Standish Wilder. Gareth had found a photo of her in the archives, he’s such a good detective!
Lina featured here outside Aotea at Christmas – photo: Wairarapa Archives
Another rather surprising discovery this week has to do with the Kaiparoro Anzac Bridge (the Friends of the Bridge support my Anzac Artists Fellowship) I was looking into the service history of the men from WW1 who are memorialised on the bridge and to my surprise I discovered that Victor Falkner, who’s father built the bridge in honour of his son and the other local men who lost their lives, was in the Auckland Mounted Rifles just as my grandfather John (Jack) Culleton was. But not only that, they were both in the 4th Squadron! My grandfather having been wounded at Gallipoli the same month Victor was killed.
Fabulous news! I have been selected as the 2018 Anzac fellowship recipient which means I get to spend time at the fabulous NZ Pacific Studio artists residency. It’s a wonderful opportunity to work on a project that explores some of the roles NZ women took on during WW1. This is an extension of my Sand in the Apricot Jam project and is focused around the Aotea Convalescent Home in Egypt. This home was set up as it was recognised that the NZ soldiers needed somewhere to recuperate, a sort of home away from home to recover in. This was made possible by a group of women from Whanganui, NZ and was run my nurses and volunteers from the Whanganui & Wiarapapa regions. Also almost entirely funded by the fund raising efforts of the women from these regions.
I’m looking forward to making the most of this opportunity and to connect with the local community while doing so.
I’ve been reading this recently published book on the ANZAC story from Sinai to Palestine during WW1 by Christopher J Wilson Archer. It’s an insightful read and great to have the story of the NZ Mounted Rifles told so well. It’s available for NZ$35 + postage. Contact email@example.com to order a copy
The mayor of Rishon LeZIon Meir Nitzan, the Governor General of New Zealand Dame Patsy Reddy and Rebecca Holden the artist at the official opening of her exhibition
On the 30th of October Sand in the Apricot Jam was officially opened by the Governor General of New Zealand Dame Patsy Redding and Mayor of Rishon LeZion Meir Nitzan. attended by New Zealand and Israeli dignitaries and invited guests.
At the event the NZ Defence Force Maori cultural group did a performance to honour the occasion and the men of the NZ Mounted Rifles. A friendship plaque was also unveiled to honour the connection between the Mounted Rifles and Rishon LeZion.
It was a wonderful event hosted by the Municipality of Rishon LeZion and the NZ Embassy to Israel as part of the WW1 100 year commemorations. I am so thrilled to have played a part in honouring the men of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles through this exhibition during this time of commemoration and remembrance.
‘Sand in the Apricot Jam‘ opened to the public on the 19th of October for a tour group of approximately 170 people organised by the Australian Light Horse Association. They are in Israel for the commemoration of the centenary of the Battle of Beersheba (31st October) and made time to visit the exhibition.
An official opening for invited guests hosted by the Municipality of Rishon LeZion and the NZ Embassy will be held on the 30th of October. The exhibition will run for 6 months alongside another exhibition ‘Liberation, Tidings & Hope’ on the connection between the ANZAC forces and Rishon LeZion during ww1.
I’ve been busy in the studio working on the new artwork to be exhibited for the first time at the Museum of Rishon LeZion in Israel. This new work will feature along side some of the other works from the original exhibition of Sand in the Apricot Jam.
The exhibition will open to the public mid October and run until the end of November 2017. So if you are planning a trip to Israel to follow the trail of the ANZAC’s and to attend the centenary of the Battle of Beersheba add a trip to the Museum of Rishon LeZion to your itinerary.
At the conclusion of my artist residency at Samuel Marsden Collegiate is an exhibition of works from the Grimm Project including the new works that were created during the residency. The exhibition also includes some of the student work that came from the master classes I ran for the students.
The exhibition is on show at the NZ Portrait Gallery, Shed 11, Customhouse Quay, Wellington and runs from the 24th June – 1st July.