Christine Hellyar

Tool Trays

Tool Trays by Christine Hellyar

Artwork Detail

Christine Hellyar's objects, her materials and her titles never fail to be evocative, surprising and sharply witty. These museum-like storage trays, with contents neatly arrayed, are like exhibits in a display of women's tools for activities that were once commonplace but now seem strange and distant. The titles include Rocks for women's roads, Skin scrapers, Bird stones for brides, Flax beaters and Grubbers; Hellyar's arrangement of materials carefully reflects the internal logic of her creations - skin-scraping tools rest on animal hide, bird stones nestle in soft felt, flax pounders lie on knitted red fibre, and rocks for women's roads are tucked into small woven baskets, ready to be carried to the work site. Women as builders of roads, as makers of magical amulets, as preparers of skin and textiles for clothing, as gatherers of food - this work acknowledges and celebrates them all. Christine Hellyar is widely known for her sculpture, drawings and installations and although her works reflect New Zealand and Pacific traditions, they do not deliver a history lesson. These are not actual, archeological finds: rather, they are fabrications, stitched and bound together, laid out like precious mementos or jewels to be treasured. There is a delicate and unsettling beauty in these memorable juxtapositions and as Priscilla Pitts notes, 'a vindication of the domestic - the lived life of women'. (from The Guide, 2001)

Tool Trays
Christine Hellyar
Production date
mixed media
45 x 800 x 2800 mm
Credit line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, gift of the Friends of the Auckland Art Gallery, 1982
Accession no
Copying restrictions apply
New Zealand Art
Display status
Not on display

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