The Capital’s First Caricature Exhibition

“The New Zealand Portrait Gallery is excited to be partnering with the Alexander Turnbull Library to create an exhibition to help mark the 25th anniversary of the foundation of the New Zealand Cartoon Archive,” says Gaelen Macdonald, Portrait Gallery director.

Ludicrous Likenesses: The Fine Art of Caricature is curated by Dr Oliver Stead, Curator Drawings, Paintings and Prints at ATL.

Oliver Stead
Oliver Stead

It is planned that the exhibition, to be held at the NZ Portrait Gallery on Wellington’s waterfront, will run from 3 August to 28 October 2017. It draws on the rich and eclectic material of the New Zealand Cartoon Archive, now part of the collections of the Alexander Turnbull Library. The exhibition will include caricatures by 45 cartoonists and artists.

Murray Webb’s caricature of Helen Clark
One of Murray Webb’s many Helen Clark caricatures. ATL: DCDL-0010820.

“Caricature, a form of portraiture that we come across in our everyday lives, documents the highs and lows in our history through an easily assimilated medium,” says Gaelen Macdonald.

“The focus for this exhibition is on Caricature as a specialised, yet highly accessible and hugely popular art form,” she says. “Here we are aiming to show how there is more to Caricature than just ‘funny faces’.

“Our goal is to amuse and entertain audiences with a wide selection of original works of tongue-in-cheek portraiture by many of New Zealand’s best-loved cartoonists and visual artists.”

Displayed in both analogue and digital form, Ludicrous Likenesses: The Fine Art of Caricature aims to engage as well as intrigue as it explores the art history of Caricature as well as its range of styles and thematic possibilities, from the hilariously crude to the subtly subversive.

The Portrait Gallery is developing an extensive public programme to accompany the exhibition. This will be designed to get people thinking more about and appreciating the fine art of caricature. There will be public talks, workshops, demonstrations, and the opportunity to give the ‘Fine Art of Caricature’ a go.