Makers of Modern NZ 1930-1990

New Zealand Portrait Gallery Exhibition in 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.

"Dame Joan Metge" by Sofia Minson, 85x180 cm, oil on canvas, 2011


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...


Photos from opening night

columns="2" paddingv="80" paddingh="20"--> #caption#Exhibition curator Brian Easton beside painting of Joan Metge by Sofia Minson #caption#Jock Phillips, senior editor of NZ online encyclopedia Te Ara, opens the exhibition #caption#Opening night guests contemplate Sir Ron Brierley #caption#Helen Sutch, daughter of Bill Sutch with artist Tim Bollinger #caption#"Alison Holst" by Freeman White, 50x70 cm, oil on Linen #caption#"Ian Cross" by Harriet Bright, 2011 #caption#Senior editor of Te Ara NZ online encyclopedia Jock Phillips talks to longtime friend of the Gallery, Bill Buxton. Paintings behind are Josef Babich and Alison Holst. #caption#Three bronzes: from left to right, Norman Kirk, Clarence Beeby and Bruce Mason. Behind them artists Freeman White (left) and Nick Cuthell (right) talk. #caption#Curator Brian Easton speaks.
Dr Easton is an economist, writer and social commentator. #caption#Portrait Gallery trustee Keith Ovenden welcomes visitors