Wednesday 8 March 2017 2:38pm
Priscilla Pitts and Andrea Hotere
In 1966 Michael Illingworth, whose oil painting Adam and Eve appears on the front cover of this book, was awarded the inaugural Frances Hodgkins Fellowship.
For the first time in New Zealand a practising artist was given a studio and paid a salary to make art for a whole year. Such support, as Frances Hodgkins herself wrote from her own experience, was capable of ‘yielding up riches – undreamed of’. Poet and critic David Eggleton has described the fellowship as ‘an emblem of cultural endeavour which … holds a legendary status in the public imagination’.
The initiative and much of the early funding for the fellowship is thought to have come from poet, editor and arts patron Charles Brasch, and it was set up by the University of Otago Council. Fifty years later, the Frances Hodgkins is still going strong, one of five arts fellowships offered through the University of Otago’s Humanities Division.
This sumptuous book brings together the art and the stories of half a century of Frances Hodgkins fellows. Arts commentator Priscilla Pitts writes about their work, while journalist Andrea Hotere interviews the artists about their lives and sources of inspiration. The result is a vibrant celebration of a wealth of talent fostered through New Zealand’s foremost visual arts residency, showing how the artistic wealth created has flowed back into the culture of the small country that nurtured it.
'Great writing, beautiful design, important photographs – a highly readable insight into the fellowship that cultivated New Zealand art.’
– New Zealand Listener Top 100 books for 2017
‘In its no-nonsense design and informed and articulate writing by former DPAG director Priscilla Pitts and writer/journalist Andrea Hotere, the volume is an excellent overview of the fellowship’s history – and of New Zealand art – in its own right.’
– Sally Blundell, New Zealand Listener, 11 October 2017
‘This is a great book for opening at random, dipping in and seeing what you can find, and discovering the existence of talent or works you may not have heard of. There is such a wide range of work style, method, subject matter and visual aesthetic that the inquisitive reader is bound to discover sections of intense interest comparatively quickly.’
– John Hurrell, Eye Contact, October 2017
Priscilla Pitts has had a long career writing about the visual arts, with a particular focus on contemporary New Zealand art. She is the author of Contemporary New Zealand Sculpture: themes and issues and a founding editor of Antic, a journal of arts, literature, theory and criticism. She was formerly director of Artspace (Auckland), the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery (New Plymouth) and the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Toitū Otago Settlers Museum. More recently she was General Manager Heritage Destinations at the New Zealand Historic Places Trust (now Heritage New Zealand), and these days freelances as a writer, exhibition curator and museum consultant.
Andrea Hotere is a writer with a background in historical research and investigative journalism. She began her career at the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography, before working at the BBC in London, and in New Zealand on various publications including the Sunday Star-Times and New Zealand Education Review. She has also written for magazines, researched and produced award- winning television documentaries and edited a book on architecture. She has a life-long interest in art, and lives in Auckland with her family.
Hardback, full colour, 280 x 220 mm, 224 pp approx.
ISBN 978-0-947522-56-8 $59.95