Christine Hellyar


Change/Exchange by Christine Hellyar

Artwork Detail

For decades, Christine Hellyar has studied the traditions surrounding the trading of goods between people of Pacific heritage and European voyagers and settlers.

Change/Exchange 2008–16 utilises the display methods of museum cases to expose the history of collecting while looking at the sorts of items that were exchanged between indigenous locals and immigrants from the northern hemisphere in the 19th century.

These wall-mounted glazed boxed works relate principally to the materials brought out to the Pacific by Europeans in the 18th century. The title refers to the physical and non-physical contacts that were made. There are textiles, beads, buttons, seeds, cordage, paint, paper, canvas, tools and feathers combined in different disciplines.

“My readings of the diaries of that time show that textiles, feathers and cordage were very desirable. Tapa and feathers were traded between island groups so they are included.

There is a very physical quality to the work even though it is behind glass. In some examples it shows how European goods were re-used in a new way; they were not just acquired for their own sake. The format is like that of a European museum and the wording is European. There is often an Oceanic context, and an Oceanic aesthetic.”

Christine Hellyar

Christine Hellyar
Production date
wooden glazed boxes, found objects, silk,linen, cotton and woollen cloth, various cordage and thread, paint, tapa, paper, feathers,, shells, beads, buttons, vellum, ribbons, lace and artificial flowers
230 x 285 x 43 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Patrons of the Auckland Art Gallery, 2016
Accession no
Other ID
X2016/25.1-127 Old Accession Number
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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