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Dame Sue Black on life, death and forensics

7 Dec 2019

Scottish forensic anthropologist and anatomist Professor Dame Sue Black has pioneered ways to use an image of someone's hands (often a criminal suspect's only visible physical feature) as a means of identifying them. These techniques have since been used in court to catch and convict paedophiles, who often share and… Audio

Saturday 7 December 2019

Available Audio (8)

 

8:10 Farah Nayeri - Gauguin's problematic legacy

Farah Nayeri

Farah Nayeri Photo: supplied

Can art be viewed in isolation from the life of the artist who produced it? This is a question increasingly troubling galleries and cultural institutions.

Earlier this year a City Gallery exhibition of Dutch-New Zealand artist Theo Schoon provoked protest by a group who voiced their objections to his cultural appropriation of Māori culture by standing in the gallery wearing T-shirts saying "‘Theo Schoon is a racist".

Now French painter Paul Gauguin is in the spotlight. The art he produced on his 19th Century sojourn on the island of Tahiti is hugely popular, but it was made by a man who had sex with teenaged girls and called Polynesian people "savages".  

Should this information influence the way we view his work today?

Writer Farah Nayeri has tackled Gauguin's troubling legacy in a The New York Times piece Is It Time Gauguin Got Canceled?

"Pastorales Tahitiennes" by Paul Gauguin,  1892

"Pastorales Tahitiennes" by Paul Gauguin, 1892 Photo: wikimedia.org

8:35 Irish actor Barry McGovern - Bringing Beckett's Watt to New Zealand

Irish actor Barry McGovern's reputation has been forged by his performances of the notoriously difficult work of his countryman Samuel Beckett.

Beckett's plays are often abstract and esoteric, knotty reflections on human existence and our place in the universe. As one critic memorably described his play Waiting For Godot, it's '...a play where nothing happens. Twice.'

McGovern came to the attention of an even wider audience with a short (and ultimately fatal) role in Game of Thrones. (Link here).

He is bringing his adaptation of Beckett's novel Watt to New Zealand for the first time in March, as part of The Auckland Arts Festival.

No caption

Photo: Supplied / Pia Johnson

9:05 The Pride and Passion of Rugby Coach Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland is one of the most renowned rugby coaches of the last 20 years, leading Wales to three Six Nations titles, two Grand Slams and two World Cup semi-finals,

Born in Hamilton, Gatland made 17 appearances for the All Blacks, before turning to coaching.

​Gatland has recently returned to his hometown to coach the Chiefs through this year's Super Rugby season, before carving out time to lead the British and Irish Lions on their tour to South Africa in 2021.

He's recently released an autobiography Pride and Passion.

Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland Photo: supplied

9:40 Jane Morris- Climber & head of Mountain Guides' Association

In December 2016 climber Jane Morris almost lost her arm (and her life) when a falling rock hit her on Mount Tasman.

Earlier that year she had become the first female president of the New Zealand Mountain Guides' Association.

She goes alpine most weekends weather permitting, leading international visitors and local climbers up some of the South Island's biggest and most challenging peaks from her base in Canterbury.

Climber Jane Morris in her "office" at the head of the Tasman Glacier

Climber Jane Morris in her "office" at the head of the Tasman Glacier Photo: supplied

10:05  Dame Sue Black - Catching criminals with their own hands

Dame Sue Black

Dame Sue Black Photo: Supplied / Jill Jennings

Scottish forensic anthropologist and anatomist Professor Dame Sue Black has pioneered ways to use an image of someone's hands (often a criminal suspect's only visible physical feature) as a means of identifying them.

These techniques have since been used in court to catch and convict paedophiles, who often share and trade images of their crimes online.

Her earlier experiences in the Kosovo War also exposed her to the very worst in human nature as she worked to identify those murdered and found in mass graves.

Dame Black is looking for ‘citizen scientists’ to help with her research by contributing images to the world’s first searchable database of the anatomy and variations of the human hand. Information here.

Content warning: This interview includes reference to child sexual abuse, violence and traumatic death.

Man putting up hands to hide face (almost obscured in background)

Photo: 123rf

11:05  Caroline Vercoe on Gauguin

Caroline Vercoe is Senior lecturer in art history at The University of Auckland.

She specialises in contemporary Pacific art and performance art, with a particular interest in issues of race, gender and representation, and has been teaching, curating and researching in these areas for over twenty years.

She has written extensively about contemporary Pacific artists responding to Gauguin.

11:30 Artist Wayne Youle - 20/20 words of wisdom

Wayne Youle

Wayne Youle Photo: supplied

Wayne Youle is one of our country's leading contemporary artists. His work combines pop art playfulness with a critical bi-cultural awareness.

Of Ngāpuhi, Ngāti Whakaeke and European descent, Youle grew up in Titahi Bay near Porirua.

Over the summer (15 Dec - 29 Mar) Pātaka in Porirua is hosting a major solo show of the last 20 years of his work called 20/20 words of wisdom, a follow on from his 2009 show 10 Down.

20/20 words of wisdom features more than 20 artworks including paintings, prints and sculptures.

 

 

Books mentioned in this show

 

Pride and Passion : My Autobiography
Warren Gatland
ISBN: 9781472252470
Published by: Headline Book Publishing


All That Remains
Sue Black
ISBN: 978857524935
Published by:Penguin

 

 

 

Playlist

Song: No Halo
Artist: Kevin Morby
Played at 8:55

Song: August
Artist:  Shannon Lay
Played at 10:55

Song: Colours
Artist: Black Pumas
played at 10:30