Elizabeth Rankin




University of Auckland, New Zealand


Elizabeth Rankin is Professor of Art History at the University of Auckland. Previously professor at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, she has long contributed to South African art history, curating exhibitions and writing on cross-cultural exchange in this complex socio-political context. It was the contribution of black artists to printmaking that fired her interest in this medium, which has subsequently embraced a wide range of printmakers, including New Zealand artists. Her published research on printmaking includes two books with printmaker Philippa Hobbs (Printmaking in a Transforming South Africa and Rorke’s Drift: Empowering Prints), as well as many articles and essays on such printmakers as Marian Maguire, Anthony Davies, Rodney Fumpston, Peter Clarke and Azaria Mbatha. This year she wrote a catalogue and curated Collateral: Printmaking as Social Commentary in Auckland, representing Daniel Heyman, Michael Reed, Sandra Thomson and Diane Victor, whose work she gave a paper on at Impact 6 in Bristol.

Paper title

Negotiating narrative interstices: the lithographs and etchings of Marian Maguire


Marian Maguire's lithographs and etchings are a vivid demonstration of the potential of the print to appropriate other visual forms to create complex narratives. Her prints negotiate the interstices of indigenous and settler histories in New Zealand by drawing on diverse forms that resonate with these stories ' voyager accounts and images of a newly 'discovered' lands and the people who inhabited them, colonial diaries and drawings, settler photographs that document the life that Europeans began to shape in New Zealand, and records of the clashes between first peoples and the new arrivals. The new images that she creates build also upon ancient stories of voyaging, challenges and conflict, as recounted in Greek myths and legends: Ajax and Achilles are warriors who confront heroic opponents in New Zealand landscapes; Captain Cook becomes a new world Ulysses; Herakles a settler whose labours wrestle with the taming of the land. But what above all lends her prints their distinctive stamp is that she also draws on the arts of antiquity, black- and red-figure-ware vases, whose style of silhouette and drawn line translates admirably into print. Interchanging style and story sets up intricate dialogues between the different images in her prints, between different prints and even between different print series. So not only does Maguire negotiate the interstices of different histories ' ancient, indigenous and settler ' but also of diverse visual forms: they suggest the multi-layered complexity of the post-colonial discourses that she is invoking.


Thursday 29 September


1:30pm - 3.00pm






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