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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 9, Issue 3 (June 1, 1934.)

Inspiration for Artists

Inspiration for Artists.

The Hon. J. A. Young, Minister of Internal Affairs, made an excellent point in his address at the recent opening of the Wellington art exhibition. He suggested that our artists could very well incorporate some expression of the facts and ideals of the Dominion's history and the traditions of the Maori in their work on canvas.

The life of the pioneer, his settling the country, and the conflict of races later on were filled with deeds which should give full scope for the imaginative painter. Then there was the lore of the poetic Maori, stories filled with high ideals and noble emotions. There was an almost unlimited variety of themes in the history of the country.

This is exactly the point of view which “Tangiwai” has more than once expressed on this page. And it is a field quite neglected by our New Zealand artists. They appear to take the line of least resistance and to content themselves with mere pretty bits and now and then a portrait. It is necessary to make some careful study before historical traditional or mythological subjects are attempted, and the average artist considers that too much trouble, or prefers to remain a landscape painter. The consequence is that there is a painful sameness about the efforts one sees on the walls in any art exhibition in New Zealand.

Charles F. Goldie has attained fame and profit by painting portraits of oldtime Maoris. His success in that field should be a lesson to his juniors; an incentive to strike out on individual lines and develop some special study of distinctive New Zealand features. The story of our land is crowded with the heroic figures and episodes that make great pictures.