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
Club and Rifle 1992
Before Breakfast 11 1991