Painted Poetry and Cross-Medium Collaboration in 20th Century Aotearoa New Zealand
This thesis shows that painted poetry collaborations, or cross-medium collaborations, were a defining part of New Zealand’s literary and artistic histories during the 1950s–1970s. As a product of the deep-rooted sense of isolation felt by individuals living in New Zealand, cross- medium collaboration both forged a sense of connection with fellow creatives and provided a flexible tool for negotiating the often paradoxical demands placed on artists and writers during this time. As the pressures of nationalism and modernism shifted and developed during the 60s and 70s, cross-medium collaboration similarly adapted to address the new challenges facing poets and painters. In Chapter One, I discuss the collaboration The Wake, by Colin McCahon and John Caselberg. I use this work as a case study through which to explore the conflicting nationalist and internationalist pressures placed on New Zealand artists and writers in the 1950s. Building on the centre-periphery model of Franco Moretti, Pascale Casanova, and Eric Hayot, I discuss the ways in which cross-medium collaboration offered a flexible tool for peripheral creatives. In The Wake, painted poetry is key in creating ambiguity through apostrophe, thus answering multiple calls for art and literature at once. Chapter Two is concerned with the progression of pressures placed on New Zealand artists and writers into the 1970s. I use Malady and the Malady series by Bill Manhire and Ralph Hotere as an example of the developments in cross-medium collaboration. These works demonstrate a distinct break away from the limiting models of centre-periphery modernism in the 1950s, with Concrete Poetry utilised as a key strategy to achieve internationalism in more of a network model of influence. In Chapter Three, I discuss Te Tangi o te Pipiwhararua (The Song of the Shining Cuckoo; a Poem by Tangirau Hotere), a painting which clearly demonstrates the development of McCahon and Hotere’s earlier ideas of simultaneous nationalism and internationalism. In this chapter I propose Te Tangi as a work signaling the onset of bicultural New Zealand through its parallel cultural narratives and use of te reo Māori. This final work demonstrates the possibilities of cross-medium collaboration to negotiate cross-cultural concerns.
Advisor: Edmond, Jacob
Degree Name: Master of Arts
Degree Discipline: English and Linguistics
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Painted poetry; Cross-Medium; New Zealand Art; New Zealand Poetry; Creative Collaboration; 20th Century New Zealand Art; 20th Century New Zealand Poetry; Modern New Zealand Poetry; Modern New Zealand Art; Colin McCahon; John Caselberg; Ralph Hotere; Bill Manhire; Malady series; The Wake; Te Tangi o te Pipiwhararua; The Song of the Shining Cuckoo
Research Type: Thesis