It’s April and I’ve begun my 3 week residency at NZ Pacific Studios in Northern Wairarapa. My arts project is dedicated to the remarkable women who ran the Aotea Convalescent Home for New Zealand soldiers in Heliopolis, Egypt during WW1. It’s aim is also to honour the communities of Whanganui, Wairarapa and Rangitikei who supported the home. The project is called ‘A Home Away From Home‘ because that’s the term the soldiers affectionately gave it. You can read more extensive writing about the project here.
I stopped at the Clareville cemetery in Wairarapa on my way to the residency to pay my respects to Kate Booth a sister from Aotea. She is buried in the RSA area of the cemetery
Here I’ll post a few photos of work in progress as I begin to develop the individual paintings that will make up the body of work called ‘A Home Away From Home’
Friday 20th April update:
This week on my residency has been a great journey of discovery. Not only with experimenting with different media but also getting to know my nurses a little more and a remarkable connection between my grandfather and one of the soldiers connected to my Anzac bridge fellowship.
Gareth Winter at the Wairarapa Archives has been a great help, a wealth of knowledge! Together we shared what information we had and with his help I’d discovered one of my nurses (Who I now feel I’m getting to know slowly) Lina McLaren had come from the Wairarapa not Whanganui which I’d mistakenly connected her with somewhere along the way. She married a Major she’d met at Aotea called Allan Standish Wilder. Gareth had found a photo of her in the archives, he’s such a good detective!
Another rather surprising discovery this week has to do with the Kaiparoro Anzac Bridge (the Friends of the Bridge support my Anzac Artists Fellowship) I was looking into the service history of the men from WW1 who are memorialised on the bridge and to my surprise I discovered that Victor Falkner, who’s father built the bridge in honour of his son and the other local men who lost their lives, was in the Auckland Mounted Rifles just as my grandfather John (Jack) Culleton was. But not only that, they were both in the 4th Squadron! My grandfather having been wounded at Gallipoli the same month Victor was killed.