The precariousness of life in the arts is brought home as we are told of a month-by- month lease payment existence for 35 years by one of our most iconic art personalities at the gallery we are standing in at 147 Cuba Street, Wellington. Celebrating 50 years with 50 works that tell a history of art at the heart of the New Zealand identity by some of our best known artists of Aotearoa, this exhibition runs until Saturday 13 October 2018.

Telling stories was a big part of Peter’s love affair with artists and his daughter, Olivia, co-curator with Hilary McLeavey, totally embodies this enthusiasm as she tells us stories about the artists, (Michael Illingworth’s surprise portrait of her dad The Dealer); the works (in depth and fascinating on Bill Hammond’s Japan Ten); her father (his meticulous filing and keeping of correspondence and ephemera) and her own personal loves (the very early and first exhibitor at the gallery, Toss Woollaston to the latest work , a new self-portrait by Robin White).

Wonderful works with wonderful stories to tell – this is a must see exhibition. Most of the art is in private collections and has been loaned by the owners themselves who bought and supported our own artists as the artistic voice of us as a nation developed. Climb those stairs and take a look. A great Friends visit and thanks to Olivia who was wonderfully informative, passionate and charming- just like her father.

Deirdre Tarrant
Member, Friends of Te Papa

Feature image: L-R: Dame Margaret Sparrow and Olivia McLeavey. Image by Heather MacFarlane.