Museum seeking Stevens’ artworks

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By MATT TSO
A call for artwork and memorabilia relating to Central Otago artist Elizabeth Stevens has gone out in preparation for an upcoming exhibition.

Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery in Alexandra plans to put on the exhibition later this year to celebrate the art and life of Stevens, who died in 2009.

Central Stories general manager Maurice Watson said the purpose of the appeal was to not only gather works for the exhibition but create a database for Stevens’ art and effects, such as notebooks, letters and personal items.

“We’d like to talk to owners to see if we can borrow [works and items] for the show. We also want to try to identify where some of the lesser known works are and build up a database.

“Some of these will be in Alexandra, but equally they are scattered all over New Zealand.”

Mr Watson said the personal items connected with Stevens told the story of the artist and would be an important part of the exhibition.

A few artworks and items have already been located, including Stevens’ striking Fiat Bambina, with which Mr Watson is delighted.

“It’s an icon of who she was”.

Although Stevens was not extremely well known nationally, she was an important part of the Alexandra art scene and was in touch with many major New Zealand artists throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

She was also a mentor and tutor to many major and lesser-known artists in Alexandra.

Her paintings focused on Central Otago and captured the character of the region.

“She was important, partly because of the way she looked at the landscape. She looked at it and painted it in a new way.

“She would paint the land forms and colours and the textures of this region.”

Mr Watson said it was early days in the appeal and he was hopeful more items would come in.

If you have any works or items related to Elizabeth Stevens and would like to have them examined for the upcoming exhibition or registered on the database, contact Central Stories Museum and Art Gallery on (03) 448-3230 or at enquiries@centralstories.co.nz