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Curatorial Internship Recipient To Explore The Unfinished Portrait

Lizzie Errington from Northland has been named as the recipient of the 2021 Liz Stringer Curatorial Internship at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata.

The internship provides the recipient with hands on curatorial skills across a wide range of activities at the gallery, which involves curating a show featuring works from the New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata collection and assist with upcoming exhibitions while contributing new perspectives, connections and a fresh appreciation of portraiture.

New Zealand Portrait Gallery’s Director, Brian Wood, says Lizzie was selected because she had a wonderful proposal to use the gallery’s collection in a fresh and innovative way.

“Lizzie is extremely passionate about becoming a curator and working in the sector and we are looking forward to having her on board.”

Reflecting on the achievement, Lizzie says “After graduating in 2019 with a Bachelor of Arts majoring in Art History and Film I wanted to pursue my interest in the arts. I came across the advertisement for the curatorial internship and knew that this was a unique opportunity to apply my studies in an active way and gain valuable experience in curation.

I am very excited to learn the ins and outs of curating an exhibition, from the birth of the idea right through to presenting the body of work to the public. It’s truly a great privilege to have the opportunity to work alongside an established curator at a national institution.”

Lizzie and her family immigrated to New Zealand from the UK in 2004 and she grew up in Warkworth, Northland. After attending Mahurangi College, she travelled to Paris where she took a summer session course at IESA Arts and Culture, which solidified her passion for the arts.

“It was a very special experience as the course covered masterpieces of French art from the 17th to the early 20th century which we were able to see in the flesh at the numerous prestigious galleries throughout Paris. A notable memory for me is when we visited Monet’s gardens at Giverny as a class and were able to stand in the artist’s studio which has been restored as it would have existed in the artist’s lifetime. The experience of learning about these works and then being able to see them with your own eyes, not just as a digital image, was incredible.”

Lizzie commenced her internship this month and will be working on an exhibition, to be staged in December, focusing on the unfinished portrait.

“The unfinished work of an artist can reveal the method and thoughts that are conventionally hidden beneath the surface. It raises questions that we do not ask ourselves with a completed work. Why is it unfinished? Was it a force outside of the artist or an aesthetic choice? What constitutes a completed artwork,” said Lizzie.

The collection will include works that are labelled unfinished and works that have an unfinished look by stylistic choice. Whether incomplete by choice or not, the unfinished portrait presents an intriguing impression on the viewer. It grants insight into the creative process and leaves space for the viewer to complete the picture with their own imagination, to naturally fill in the blanks.

The internship was established by New Zealand Portrait Gallery Trustee Liz Stringer in 2017 to give recent graduates essential hands-on experience in exhibition making and to provide that vital and elusive ‘first break’ for talented young people who show so much potential.

New Zealand Portrait Gallery Te Pūkenga Whakaata presents stories of New Zealanders through the art of portraiture.

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