UC exhibition celebrates art of the Christmas card

02 December 2016

A new exhibition in UC's Matariki Gallery celebrates the way New Zealand artists have sent unique Christmas greetings to their loved ones through the decades.

UC exhibition celebrates art of the Christmas card

Chiko, Handmade Christmas Card by Chrystabel Aitken, 1962, Macmillan Brown Library Archives, (MB1380, 134221) Chrystabel Aitken and Leo Bensemann papers

Seldom seen beyond the receiver’s hand, greeting cards are an ephemeral and often intimate form of art and correspondence.

Best Wishes, a new exhibition in the University of Canterbury’s Matariki Gallery space, celebrates the way New Zealand artists have sent unique Christmas greetings to their loved ones through the decades.

UC Art Collections Curator Lydia Baxendell says that, kept as mementos, these temporal cards – ranging from one-of-a-kind artworks or limited edition print series by well-known artists such as Doris Lusk, Chrystabel Aitken, Francis Shurrock and Leo Bensemann to the vast array of commercially printed cards sent for personal and corporate purposes – have accumulated in the University’s archives.

“Since it’s the holiday season, we’ve retrieved a broad range of cards held in the UC Art and Archival collections to showcase this recurring and visually appealing form of communication,” Ms Baxendell says.

“The cards include snippets of news, photographs, and poems, a synopsis of the year gone. They offer a unique insight into New Zealand’s social and cultural history. Be it a peek into the private domain of an artist, the sentiment or statement of a group or a slick corporate message, these objects tells us about the lives of the makers, senders and recipients.

“We will be playing some Christmas music and also have materials available for people to make their own card if they are feeling crafty,”

Best Wishes exhibition runs until 20 January 2017 (closed 23 Dec – 4 Jan) in Matariki Gallery, University of Canterbury, Ilam campus.

For further information please contact:
Margaret Agnew, Senior External Relations Advisor, University of Canterbury
Phone: +64 3 369 3631 | Mobile: +64 275 030 168 | margaret.agnew@canterbury.ac.nz
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