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Rare work from Christchurch artist Bill Hammond to be shown

An infamous Ōtautahi artist will be celebrated at an exhibition held in August.

Canterbury artist Bill Hammond is best known for his hauntingly beautiful half-human, half-bird creatures.

Over 40 pieces, some of which have never been seen in public before, will be on display at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū from 3 August 2019 to 19 January 2020.

Curator Peter Vangioni said he was delighted to show the work of New Zealand's foremost contemporary artists who also happens to be a talented drummer.

Bill Hammond: Playing the Drums has been co-curated with the artist himself and features rarely seen works from his private collection alongside pieces from the Gallery’s own collection and several other Christchurch collections.

“It’s going to be a great opportunity for Christchurch to come together and celebrate one of our own,” Vangioni says.

“The exhibition will span several decades of Bill’s works and include drawings, prints and paintings from the early 1980’s through to some of his most recent pieces, including his iconic bird paintings.”

In these paintings, figures with bird-like heads adopt humanlike stances, conveying a feeling of quiet despair as they gaze out into the distance.

In Waiting for Buller. Bar (1993) Hammond’s classic bird people, personifying New Zealand’s native birds, are portrayed with the artist’s wry sense of humour, hanging out at a bar playing pool, drinking wine and relaxing while they wait for the arrival of Walter Buller, New Zealand’s own colonial ornithologist, or bird stuffers, as Hammond likes to call them.

Local audiences will have their first face to face encounter with Hammond’s large Cave painting, Bone Yard Open Home (2008) which has never been on display in Christchurch before.

Visitors will be able to view one of Hammond’s well-known masterpieces, The Fall of Icarus (1995), from the Gallery’s collection marking over a decade since it was last shown.

Bill Hammond: Playing the Drums will be on display at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū from 3 August 2019 to 19 January 2020. Entry is free.

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