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TOM KITCHIN and PAM JONES

Stevens family members last weekend came out in strong support of a landmark exhibition of their artistic forebear’s work.

“Rediscovering Elizabeth Stevens – creating order from chaos” opened at Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery in Alexandra on Saturday night.

The exhibition features 68 paintings by the late Elizabeth Stevens and is the first exhibition of her artworks since she died in 2009.

To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, Stevens’ daughters, Miranda Van Asch, who lives in Sydney, and Lea Maalfrid, who lives in Stockholm, returned to their hometown to celebrate their mother’s work.

Four of Stevens’ five grandchildren and five of her nine great-grandchildren also attended the opening.

Central Stories general manager Maurice Watson said Stevens had been the “most prominent” Central Otago artist of her era, mentoring many other artists and being one of the first to paint abstract or “pixelated” pictures of deserted Central Otago landscapes with planes or blocks of colour, he said.

The Central Stories exhibition includes 10 of the Stevens paintings held in the Central Stories collection, including the painting Differing Realities, which was bought last year after a successful public campaign to raise the $3000 needed to purchase the artwork.

The exhibition runs until April 29.