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Record Image
Pankhurst, Alvin Ernest (New Zealand, b.1949)
Maybe tomorrow
tempera on hardboard
1600 x 2120 mm sight size
New Zealand Collection
Collection of the Dunedin Public Art Gallery. Purchased 1974 with funds from the Dunedin Public Art Gallery Society.
Maybe Tomorrow is from a series ‘Creeper’ Alvin Pankhurst painted in the 1970s. Inspiration for this painting comes from two sources. The first concerns issues of cultural identity: 1974 was the year that Britain joined the European Economic Community, and its colonies, including New Zealand, were encouraged to forge their own identity.
The second source of inspiration relates to urban renewal in New Zealand, which coincided with population growth in the main centres. In Wellington, where Pankhurst lived, many fine examples of Victorian architecture were being demolished. He began to collect ornate fireplaces like the one in this painting, as well as ceramics or crockery and other decorative objects.
The room illustrated here is typical of those found in Victorian houses in New Zealand. The old man’s image reflected in the mantel mirror is reproduced in the oval mirror above this, but he is seen from behind and in shadow – a reference to reminiscence or nostalgia for the past. The painting’s perspectival inconsistencies quite possibly translate as the distortion that occurs when events are revisited from memory; the rambling vines are also indicative of the passing of time. The mildly erotic wallpaper intimates various realities, but perhaps in this case concerns the continuation of the generations. Maybe Tomorrow, executed painstakingly in egg tempera, took over twelve months to produce and won a prestigious art award in the year of its execution. With its mixture of real and surreal, and its underlying tensions, the work has continued to fascinate viewers into the 21st century.

not on view

Result 149 of 204