Exhibition: Once at the Dowse starring ‘Huttette’

Vita Cochran, Huttette at 21, 2008. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum

Once, The Dowse Art Museum 25 Feb – 11 Jun 2017

FREE admission

In 2008 when I worked at the Dowse Art Museum we commissioned textile artist Vita Cochran to make a creative response to Malcolm Harrison’s remarkable work, The Family. This much-loved work comprises 35 hand-made dolls, all of whom have big personalities and are imaginatively and lavishly dressed in a wide array of ‘upcycled’ fabrics and accessories.

Malcolm Harrison, The Family (Emerston (Ritz) and Cassandra Edith), 1983–87. Collection of The Dowse Art Museum

Malcolm christened the youngest member of the family, a baby, Huttette after Lower Hutt.  When The Family turned 21, we asked Vita to imagine Huttette at the age of 21, and she did so beautifully. The grown up Huttette arrived wearing garments inspired by over two decades of living in the Dowse’s collection.

In the exhibition Once, Huttette will be exhibited alongside the works that influenced the creation of her wardrobe, including Colin McCahon’s Caterpillar Landscape (see the t-shirt), Warwick Freemans Circle Necklace and Brain Brooch (the skirt) and Vita Cochran’s own work, Bloom.  She will be accompanied by her brother Mungo and their parents, Jerry and Chloe from Malcolm Harrison’s original work.

The exhibition has been curated by Jen Boland, the Dowse’s community curator and members of the Naenae clubhouse.

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