Art and religion have been intertwined since the first glimmerings of human history but in New Zealand - somehow despite our Missionary colonialist connections, any major survey of the visual arts in this genre has been entirely minimal.
Within such a breadth of subject perhaps most curators have been intimidated to touch a deeply emotive and controversial subject. Several key artworks in the Whangarei Art Museum collection have become a touchstone to inspire this selective survey of how artists have evolved a response to the spiritual realm from the early 20th Century to today. From Charles F. Goldie to Max Gimblett and Whangarei artist Starr Gossage this is a brave, luminous, and at times very controversial exploration of how artists have responded and dissected Faith in their art.
From traditional Christian imagery to the Maori spiritual renaissance of the 1950s of which the Northern Maori Project was a partial catalyst, this substantial exhibition explores a series of contiguous thematic groups of works throughout; from Greek Mythology to Maori Spirituality, as well as Buddhism, Baha’i and Hindu. Each of the artists involved reflect a new Aotearoa emerging from the monoculture of early Missionary values towards a new inclusive Christianity and a nation of many religions.
Curated by Scott Pothan
Text extracted from Whangarei Art Museum press release.