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Somewhere in Our Historical Memory

This series is arguably the most innovative of Strathdee's work. Objects became identity markers as the artist constructed a visual vocabulary for a personal take on NZ history. Painted from engravings and photographs, the imagery is placed within a structure originally conceived for wall relief works.

The European settlement of New Zealand is the subject of these paintings. Details from 19th century newspaper illustrations provide images of British boats on the Waikato, tents and houses at Patapata beach (the site for a meeting about the rights of prospectors to search for gold in the hills of the Coromandel), a Maori Pa, and British soldiers collecting firewood in the bush. Axes and potato diggers, headlands, and the shadowy presence of the gun barrel appear superimposed on hints of English floral wallpaper.

Combs and Rifle 1990


Black 1990


Private Collection

Hatchet and Digger 1990

Resistance 1994-98 


Club and Rifle 1992


Before Breakfast 11 1991


**   The series are acrylic, conte and graphite on canvas  **
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