Like theatre - experiencing paintings in the real world can bring them to life in a way that viewing them online can't. Butler's 1873 oil painting 'Self Portrait' is very alive. Thank you Christchurch Art Gallery for inviting us in to view it.
We always tailor our Education Programme offerings around the themes we are exploring in our artistic projects. With the students on our July Kids Holiday Programme we introduced the idea of an Upside-World - something that was imagined by Butler in his creation of Erewhon, and explored later by Dada and Surrealist artists following the First World War. Kids are resilient and experience seismic events in their own way. We encouraged our students to create their own Upside-down Worlds and to imagine the kind of world they might want to create for themselves.
A meeting with poet Jasmine Gallagher who grew up near Butler’s sheep station and is researching his landscape paintings. 🐑 🖼 Jasmine's poem "A Death On-Board the Voyage from Gravesend to the Antipodes" (2019) was inspired by Butler's account of his voyage to New Zealand on a ship in 1859-60. https://minarets.info/annexe-jasmine-gallagher/
"Exploring is delightful to look forward to and back upon, but it is not comfortable at the time, unless it be of such an easy nature as not to deserve the name". The last few months have seen Free Theatre and its collaborators embark upon a research journey into Samuel Butler’s 1872 novel Erewhon, inspired by the 4 years he spent in the foothills of the Southern Alps 🏔 at Mesopotamia Station climbing mountains, building cob huts, playing Handel 🎹 in the depths of Winter, ✍️ journals and shearing 🐑, and his forays into the Canterbury 🎭 society and by the 🔥 in the back rooms of Victorian era Christchurch. We are excited to share our own journey with you on our search for an ‘Erewhon’ of today, to uncover the back stories and explore the hidden perspectives and responses to this cultural taonga. Thanks to Creative New Zealand Arts Continuity Funding which has made this research possible.