Strangers arrive in New Zealand

13 December 2017
Strangers Arrive: Emigrés and the Arts in New Zealand, 1930–1980

In his new book, Associate Professor Leonard Bell takes us inside New Zealand's bookstores and coffeehouses, studios and galleries to introduce us to the twentieth-century migrants whose European modernism radically reshaped the arts in this country.

From the 1930s through to the 1950s, a substantial number of forced migrants — refugees from Nazism, displaced people after World War II and escapees from Communist countries — arrived in New Zealand from Europe.

Strangers Arrive: Emigrés and the Arts in New Zealand, 1930–1980 tells the story of the extraordinary group of artists and writers, photographers and architects who were among them.

From photographer Irene Koppel to art dealer Kees Hos, architect Imric Porsolt to writer Antigone Kefale, Strangers Arrive introduces us to a talented group of 'aliens' who were critical catalysts for change in New Zealand culture.

In the book, Len explores how these migrants were received by New Zealanders, how their displacement and settlement in New Zealand transformed their work, and how their arrival intersected with the burgeoning nationalist movement in the arts in New Zealand.

This visually stunning book features a wealth of rarely seen images of twentieth-century New Zealand art.

An accompanying exhibition of the works of these talented émigrés, and works by New Zealand-born expatriates whose art was crucially informed by their experiences of Continental European people and pictures, is running at the Gus Fisher Gallery until Friday 15 December.

Strangers Arrive: Emigrés and the Arts in New Zealand, 1930–1980