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Article

Megan Tamati-Quennell

(b Te Hapua, N. Auckland, NZ, 1939).

Maori painter, sculptor, writer and film maker. His tribal affiliation is Ngati Kuri, Te Aupouri, Te Paatu, Ngati Rehia, Murikahara, Te Whakatohea. He studied at Ardmore and Dunedin Teachers’ College, but he left teaching in 1962 to concentrate on his art, holding his first one-man show at the Ikon Gallery in Auckland in the same year. He was largely self-taught as a painter and sculptor, believing ‘all creative artists are self-taught’. His philosophy of art closely followed the view of Picasso, whom he much admired, that artists should be honest to their own personal experiences and strengths. Muru’s paintings have often been characterized by their narrative political content, from the series telling the story of Parihaka (1972) to the 14 panels of Whakapapa, painted for the Kohia ko taikaka anake exhibition at the National Art Gallery in Wellington, NZ, in 1990. In later years he increasingly combined his skills as an orator and a painter, making extensive use of language in his works to address issues concerning the status of the ...

Article

Bernice Murphy

(b Sydney, July 19, 1945).

Australian conceptual and performance artist, film maker and writer. He began writing poetry as a student at Queensland University (1965–6). Although he attended the National Art School at Darlinghurst, Sydney (1968), he was largely self-taught as an artist. He first became known for his conceptual works, filmed actions and performances and typescript pieces in 1971–2, when he ran Inhibodress, an alternative art space in Sydney, with artist Peter Kennedy (b 1945). In 1972 he travelled abroad for the first time for about a year, making Vienna his base (as he did again in 1977–8). In 1973 he carried out performances in Lausanne and Neuchâtel, Switzerland. These works (and the associated filmed record) were collectively entitled Performances, Actions, Video Systems and developed out of previous Sydney works: Word Situations (1971) and Idea Demonstrations (1971–2).

On returning to Australia Parr incorporated recent filmed records of performances into much larger, autobiographical film projects that occupied most of his artistic energy for ten years, producing three substantial, experimental films: ...

Article

Robert Smith

(Leslie)

(b Melbourne, Nov 23, 1929).

Australian cartoonist, printmaker, writer, illustrator, film maker and sculptor. After employment as an illustrator in Melbourne (1949–52), he worked in London as a freelance illustrator and cartoonist (1954–60). On the return journey to Australia he formed a lasting interest in South-east Asia, publishing the resulting perceptive and deceptively simple drawings with commentary in the first of his many illustrated books. He worked as a freelance artist in Melbourne until his appointment as resident cartoonist for the Sydney Daily Mirror in 1963 and the newly established national daily, The Australian, from 1964 to 1973. He quickly achieved popularity and repute, especially for his penetrating visual comments on involvement by Australia and the USA in the Vietnam War. He had little formal training in art and developed for himself a free-ranging personal style, which was widely emulated.

From 1970 Petty made or scripted numerous films, often combining actuality with animation and incorporating his own caricatural kinetic sculptures. After some earlier pioneering sculptural works, he created the first of what he called his ‘machine sculptures’, the ...