Robin White

Mere and Siulolovao, Otago Peninsula

Mere and Siulolovao, Otago Peninsula by Robin White

Artwork Detail

Mere, a friend of the artist, stands with her daughter Siulolovao sitting on her hip. They both gaze at low angles out of the picture plane as if caught unawares by the viewer, almost like a photograph taken before the sitters are ready. Behind them is their colonial cottage, on Harrington Point Road at Portobello, the red corrugated iron roof bleached by the sun. Washing hangs from the verandah posts, fluttering in the breeze, adding to the feeling that it is a warm hot summer day. Given that it is a screenprint, Mere’s skirt is intricately designed, the batik pattern telling something of the period.

The print was commissioned by the United Women’s Convention as a fundraiser in advance of their Convention held in Hamilton in 1979, and it was later turned into a poster for the organisation. The work is perhaps a surprising one to associate with the feminism of the late 1970s. It is however a vital portrait of a mother and child, neither heroicising motherhood nor belittling it, rather the work shows it in quite an ordinary way, as it is experienced – nappies on the line and a baby on the hip.

Jane Davidson - 2004

Mere and Siulolovao, Otago Peninsula
Robin White
Production date
617 x 385 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, purchased 2004
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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