A fitting documentary eulogy to one of New Zealand's most underrated Modernist artists, Edith Collier (1885-1964), whose talent was sadly crushed by unsympathetic Victorian tastes.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
One of New Zealand's most talented yet underrated artists, Edith Collier (1885-1964) was, sadly, a victim of her times. Born in Wanganui at a time when the town was still in the grip of profound and stultifying Victorianism, she suddenly found herself in an exciting milieu of new ideas and experimentation when she escaped to study in England. In this fertile environment she created many exquisite paintings in the new Modernist style (Frances Hodgkins was one of her admirers), but when her father, who felt she was wasting her time and costing too much to support, summoned her home, she had no option but to return. Being back in her home environment was crushing for her, as people had no understanding of her work, and, tragically, Collier chose to give up painting as a result. Michael Heath's film tells Collier's story with sensitivity and respect, and includes much of her extraordinarily beautiful work. It is not only a fitting eulogy to a remarkable artist, but an affecting tale of cultural identity and rejection.