Right next to the Auckland Art Gallery is the expansive Albert Park. Filled with art, fountains and flowers, Albert Park is one of Auckland’s most important parks with its central location in the heart of the city, its long history and distinctive character. Albert Park in central Auckland was a military barracks during the conflict in Northland from 1845 to 1846. Troops were stationed there until 1871, when most of the buildings and walls were demolished. The park itself was constructed 10 years later. The sculpture shown above is by Neil Dawson to commemorate the Auckland Art Gallery centenary in 1988. The semicircular structure frames the tres presenting changing views of of the park as it is viewed from different angles.
We decided to visit the Auckland Art Gallery and managed to see a retrospective of the paintings of Robert Ellis. Robert Ellis is one of New Zealand’s pre-eminent artists. He has held more than 60 solo exhibitions and innumerable group exhibitions in New Zealand and abroad. Over the past decades Robert Ellis’s paintings have addressed issues of New Zealand identity in which he draws together threads of European and Pacific cultures. These works make observations about the two cultural threads from a personal as well as social perspective. They combine European and Pacific images. Those deriving from the West include the horse, chair and chalice and medieval geometric designs. The Pacific imagery features the Ratana symbol and the koru while there are a number of others that cross boundaries such as the hand, the fish and the stars.” Because of his long career, we can identify three periods of his work, beginning with roads as boundaries, progressing to a deep awareness of the Māori culture and finally to a fusion of European and Polynesian symbols as seen in the work above.