Makers of Modern NZ 1930-1990
New Zealand Portrait Gallery Exhibition
Wellington Nov 2011 – Feb 2012
Sofia Minson was commissioned by the New Zealand Portrait Gallery to paint pioneering social anthropologist Dame Joan Metge for their November 2011 exhibition "Makers of Modern New Zealand 1930-1990". In an exhibition that raised as many questions as it provided answers, curator Brian Easton welcomed the element of debate that emerged from his choice of subjects.
Although Metge is not of Maori decent, due to her life's work and connection with Maori, Minson considers the painting to be part of her Contemporary Maori Portrait Series.
Dr Easton, economist, writer (author of The Nationbuilders) and social commentator, confronted the monumental task of selecting portraits of sixty New Zealanders who reflect the development of the nation from 1930-1990.
Portraits of key figures in commerce, politics, education, law, and the arts were represented. But so too were portraits of lesser known but significant people who symbolise important elements of the period, such as the increasing importance of Maori and women in our public life. “Viewed collectively and usually chronologically, the portraits tell their own story about the development of the nation over the turbulent and transformational 60 years.
“There may be many surprises about who is represented, as well as those who are not- this is not a parade of ‘celebrities’. Rather it is of New Zealanders who have made a major and long-lasting contribution to New Zealand’s development and whose contributions and achievements illustrate exceptional forces for change over the years represented in the exhibition” Easton said.
Listen to Radio NZ interview with Brian Easton on Minson's Dame Joan Metge painting...