The Great Race

John Brown

24 May 2019 — 22 Jun 2019

The Great Race
John Brown
May 24 - June 22

Conventional history asserts that Tasman, 1642-1643AD, was the first European to find New Zealand. However, ancient European skulls found at different locations around New Zealand are positive evidence that long before Tasman, Europeans not only found New Zealand but settled here too (1).

In this new series of representational paintings which amalgamates various painterly conventions, iconography, landscapes and histories, where meaning doubles itself as both tragedy and farce.

This theatrical body of work is in part inspired by my attempt to piece together my Pakeha/Greek heritage and family history, which has been fragmented through a shipwreck incident, adoption, and integration. These works hope to explore this mixed lineage through unlikely pairings of pyramids, cobras, eels’ spirit like entities, and architectural forms. 

The works draw on spurious theories of Pakeha indigeneity as explored in the controversial book To the End of the Earth which makes the claim that the Greek Egyptian voyagers were the first people to visit Aotearoa New Zealand.

Through this conglomeration of influences, The Great Race seeks a conversation between artist and cultures across time in order to obtain a sense of belonging that might not be found (2).

(1) To the End of the Earth. Pg137. Maxwell.C.Hill, 2012
(2) East 2018. Hastings City Art Gallery. Curator Bruce.E.Philips

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The Snake and the Three Unknowns


Tales of the Golden Land

Pitt Island Warrior

Believe it or not

Fire on Easter Island

Knight Under Fire Mountain

Fair Haired and the Three Eels

Little Red Hiding Head

The Hawk, the Snake and Homers Superstitions