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Level 5, Te PapaCurrent Exhibition
In the 1920s and 30s, New Zealand art was dismissed by many critics as provincial and unimaginative. British artist W H Allen, for example, declared it devoid of ‘pioneering spirit’ and ‘indifferent to modern movements in art’.
But a new generation of artists soon defied Allen’s harsh assessment. They challenged academic art forms, while resisting mere imitation of Europe’s avant-garde.
Here, we showcase some of their imaginative new visions of art in New Zealand, with a particular focus on the rich contributions of female artists between 1930 and 1950.