PRINT October 1986


EARLIER THIS YEAR, A VISITOR to the National Art Gallery of New Zealand, in Wellington, would have seen Colin McCahon’s Practical Religion: the Resurrection of Lazarus showing Mount Martha, 1970, hanging in the entrance hall. Because McCahon’s paintings remain in museums or private collections in New Zealand; because almost all the published criticism of his work has emerged from within his own country; even, perhaps, because he has rarely ventured beyond his native land, the canon of “world art" never includes him, and his greatness is acknowledged only there. But if even a reputation supported by the power of the local institutions has barely extended outside two islands in the Pacific, how can other New Zealand artists (including Maori artists) ever enter an international arena? The New Zealanders could be wrong, of course, or biased, or provincial in their estimate of their own art.

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