The intention of this artistic project was to celebrate the memory of the women who ran the Aotea Convalescent home for NZ soldiers in Egypt during WW1. An arts project created in 2018 to mark the centenary of the end of WW1 and the 125th anniversary of women’s suffrage in New Zealand.
In 2018 I was the recipient of the ANZAC fellowship artist residency at New Zealand Pacific Studios. While there I worked on many pieces that were to form the body of work ‘A Home Away from Home’.
In 2018 ‘A Home Away from Home’ was exhibited at Aratoi in Masterton. Masterton is in the Wairarapa, a region where some of the nurses originated from and where there are still strong family ties. It was also exhibited at WH Millbank gallery in Whanganui. The gallery is situated in a building where 100 years before the exhibition, a dance was held to raise funds for Aotea Convalescent. There are still many relatives of the nurses from Whanganui who established Aotea, living in the region.
Works on paper
These works are made up of portraits of the women who ran and staffed Aotea as well as aspects that refer to the convalescent home. They are painted on hand dyed blue paper as it was told that you knew a ‘boy’ from Aotea because they always had a slip of blue paper on them (used to wrap up their sandwiches).
Works on cotton veils
Representative of the veils the nurses wore, each piece is illustrated with composite drawings of life for the soldiers and nurses at Aotea Convalescent Home.