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Portraits Speak for Themselves at Canterbury Museum

Picture attached by Julia Holden: The Artist (Hannah Beehre)

The past and present combine in a new exhibition by artist Julia Holden opening on 1 July at Canterbury Museum. Using sound, painting, photography, and performance, Lyttelton Redux tells the stories of historical figures who helped shape the port town of Lyttelton.

Working with Lyttelton Museum, Holden identified 23 historical figures who were connected to the town, from early settlers and land surveyors to a landscape artist and prominent suffragette. For each person featured in the exhibition, Holden found a present day local connected to them, either through occupation or personal relationships, to serve as a ‘living canvas’. Accompanying historical audio is complemented by recordings of the participating locals reflecting on their forebears.

This project was created to assist Lyttelton Museum maintain visibility in its community following the loss of its building after the 2011 Canterbury earthquakes.

Lyttelton Redux was launched in November 2016. The portraits were hung in locations around the town associated with either the past or present subjects. Accompanying audio was accessible online via a website. Holden conceived of the project primarily as a way of reconnecting people with their town’s very interesting history, linking remaining buildings to create a sense of the township itself being the Lyttelton Museum.

Julia Holden graduated with a BFA from Elam School of Fine Arts, Auckland in 2007 and a Master of Fine Arts from Monash University, Melbourne in 2011. Based in Christchurch since late 2012, Holden continues to work within the portraiture genre and focuses on connections within communities and wider social engagement. Lyttelton Redux 1 July til 23 October 2017 at Canterbury Museum.


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