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We Remember Ralph Hotere

Author: Emma Bugden, Senior Curator
Fondly remembering a New Zealand great...
Kevin Capon, Ralph Hotere, Painter, 1985. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum.

Kevin Capon, Ralph Hotere, Painter, 1985. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum.

This photograph from our collection depicts the artist Ralph Hotere in unmistakable close up. Ralph passed away yesterday, and, like the rest of the New Zealand arts community, we’re remembering the beauty and eloquence of his remarkable paintings.

Ralph Hotere, Black Painting from Malady, a Poem by Bill Manhire, 1970. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum.

Ralph Hotere, Black Painting from Malady, a Poem by Bill Manhire, 1970. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum.

The Dowse has six works by Ralph, including two paintings from his Black Painting series, purchased when Jim Barr was Director.

But my favourite is this small drawing from 1981 which accompanies a banner commisioned from Ralph Hotere to celebrate The Dowse’s 10th anniversary. Ten artists were commissioned and all were asked to provide an artist statement and bio. Nine duely complied, while Ralph, who famously would never speak about his work, submitted this instead. Wilful and yet somehow deeply expressive, its a reminder that good art repells bureaucracy.

Emma Bugden, Senior Curator 

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