Tag Archives: UC Arts

At home with the reality of death – reflections on Teece exhibition

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Curator, Teece Museum / Logie Collection, Terri Elder offers a personal perspective on the very popular exhibition Beyond the Grave: death in ancient times. 

It’s a somewhat strange situation to find that an exhibition all about death has turned into a celebration of life. The current exhibition at the Teece Museum  Beyond the Grave: death in ancient times, explores Greek and Roman attitudes to death and rituals around dying. It would be easy to imagine the topic being a little sad, but for me personally, I found the resulting exhibition is far from being gloomy or ghoulish.

 There are of course some very poignant details, such as the archaeological evidence of numerous infant graves, made necessary by the staggeringly high infant mortality rate in ancient Greece of 50%. The grief on the faces of the mourners depicted on the Canosan askos (JLMC 186.00) rings true in the face of such statistics.  There are also the bizarre stories of misadventure, like the ancient ‘urban legend’ which contends that the famous Greek playwright Aeschyllus met his end when a passing eagle dropped a turtle on the writer’s head! An unusual death for a soldier that had already survived the Battle of Marathon in 490 BCE.

However, the strongest message I get from the ancient artefacts included in this exhibition is that the ancient Greeks and Romans were perhaps a little more at home with the reality of death as a normal part of life than many of us seem to be today. 

Death was obviously a part of their everyday experience, and the ritual artefacts they left behind show an appreciation of celebrating and remembering their loved ones actively and regularly, not just at a funeral.

The Logie Collection’s array of white-ground lekythoi, which depict scenes of Greek mourners paying ritual visits to the graves of their ancestors, capture this very well.

The artefacts in ‘Beyond the Grave’ also have in common a sense of having been created with a real commitment to communicating both beauty and purpose. The lavish grave-marking vases and sculptures of the wealthy are exquisitely crafted and decorated, but even humble grave goods, (such as the miniature terracotta horse ca.740-720 BCE, of a type often found in the graves of children, JLMC 161.75), resonate with a sense of affection and thoughtfulness.  

The exhibition runs until February 2019 at the Teece Museum, so there is plenty of time to visit and explore for yourselves whether the ancient Greek and Roman experience of death is so very different from that of our own.”

WHERE: Teece Museum, 3 Hereford St, Christchurch

WHEN: Wed-Sun, 11am-3pm, to Sunday, 24 February 2019

Entry by donation

What’s on at SoFA Gallery – Sam Clague, ‘Taste Nature’

Image:  ‘Don’t look at the carpet, I drew something awful on it’ (part), acrylic, enamel, plaster, nails, polystyrene, coffee grounds, banana skins, nicotine gum and pigment on carpet support, 750 x 750mm, 2018.

Taste Nature is a new body of work by Sam Clague on display now at SoFA Gallery.

Clague’s current practice is a method in coming to terms with the end of capitalism.  He approaches this ultimate metamorphosis through the core notion of failure.  Mutated, blanched, stripped, buried, amalgamated materials are aerated and turned like organic fertiliser to generate new forms representing a failed system.

‘I always wanted my works—whatever happened in the studio− to look more like what was going on outside the window.’—Robert Rauschenberg

Sam Clague is an artist currently practicing in Dunedin.  Clague graduated with a BFA (First Class Honours) from Ilam SoFA in 2015, and has exhibited work at the UNSW Gallery (Sydney) and the Adam Art Gallery (Wellington).

Sam Clague, Taste Nature
SoFA Gallery, Ilam Campus Gallery, Block 2, 6 June – 5 July 2018.

Arts students connection with the city

A significant part of my role as the Vice-President if the UCSA is representing students, and recently I was lucky enough to speak for arts students that learn and perform in the incredible new facilities at the Arts Centre.

It is an absolute privilege for the students of Music Performance and Classical Studies to be studying  where the University of Canterbury began and some of our most influential alumni studied. The Arts Centre has been a place of world-changing research and legacies of UC and it is truly inspiring to think that students of 2017 and beyond are finally inheriting this history to make the foundation for the future of arts at UC.

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When the University moved to Ilam, the Arts Centre grew to be the hub for arts and entertainment in Christchurch.  It therefore seems only fitting to have music students among the first to move back to this site. Alongside practice suites, a lecture theatre and library, workstations, and offices, there is a recital space where students hold weekly concerts open to the public, and soon to be bi-weekly.  The move has allowed initiatives like this to happen, and has therefore also allowed a stronger connection between students and the community.

The Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities is another asset that will strengthen the relationship between UC students and the community.  The James Logie Memorial Collection is one of the best and largest collections in the southern hemisphere, and is now on display for the public, allowing students to work closely with the collection’s curators.

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The Teece Museum of Classical Antiquities

I have seen the changes and progress that the university has made post-earthquake to accommodate all students, and promote flexibility and innovation in these tough times.  To me, this move is a strong milestone that shows that my university and my college are going forward, and have made it through what has been a tough few years. These facilities show me that the arts are still so important and relevant, and that they are in fact flourishing in a modern world.

At a time where making connections, and engaging with our communities is so important, I think it is really appropriate that part of UC has made this move. The College of Arts is really connecting to the heart of Christchurch. I think matching innovative students with the rebuild of a city can only bring about a very promising future.

Written by Emily Barker

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