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On Standing Room Only, visual arts dominate.  Natural history illustrator Erin Forsyth wants to use her skills to encourage Kiwis to eradicate pests, while mural-maker John Walsh sees the triumphant return of a work with no friends 40 years ago.  Wellington street photographer Julian Ward has found himself in demand in China, while master ceramics artist Bari Ziperstein is inspired - and infuriated - by propaganda.

Also on the programme, very hot young playwright Sam Brooks tackles politics with Jacinda, museum consultant Sue Hodges encourages our museums to blow their own trumpet more, and Anne Kennedy's new novel is about climate change, the arts - and a really good fridge.

All this and actor Tom Forde on the Laugh Track, our regular trip to the movies and a music theme that tries to reflect Changes without including David Bowie.  Can it be done?


12:34  Natural history illustrator Erin Forsyth

Predator Free New Zealand has enlisted the intricate painting skills of natural history illustrator Erin Forsyth.  Erin is designing a poster they hope will get Kiwis to back a plan to eradicate pests that are decimating our endemic flora and fauna.

Erin's work is finely detailed, and she tells Lynn Freeman that whenever possible she tries to observe the species she paints in the wild.

Erin Forsyth's exhibition A Few is her third to showcase native and resident species - from butterflies and  bats to birds and the trees they love to hang out in.

The exhibition A Few is on at the Pah Homestead in Auckland. In January she's opening another exhibition at the Zealandia reserve in Wellington

12:48 The return of John Walsh's massive mural

Almost 40 years ago, artist John Walsh painted 60 portraits for an 18 metre-long mural featuring the portraits of Ūawa Tolaga Bay people.  But they rejected it, and the massive work's been in storage - until now.

This week a large contingent will journey from John's marae in Tolaga Bay to the capital to honour A Portrait of Ūawa Tolaga Bay as it goes on public display for the first time.

The massive mural is painted on ten panels and took 18 months to complete. It depicts a cross-section of the community alongside supernatural and spiritual figures.

In 1993 John Walsh became the inaugural curator of contemporary Māori art, then a general art curator at Te Papa Tongawera before becoming a full-time artist a decade later. Concert FM's Charlotte Wilson spoke to him recently.  You can listen to that here.

Lynn Freeman visited John at the New Zealand Portrait Gallery to hear the story of his contentious mural.

1:10 At The Movies

Simon Morris reviews Hunter Killer, Mandy and American Animals

1:32 Sam Brooks puts politics back on the stage

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Photo: supplied

Sam Brooks

Sam Brooks Photo: supplied

Contemporary politics is a rare subject for New Zealand plays - until now maybe.   Auckland playwright Sam Brooks is about to unleash his second political drama in less than a year.

A few months ago the searing Burn Her sold out Auckland's Q Theatre. Sam's new work's called Jacinda, set between election night 2017 and when the coalition of Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens unexpectedly took over the reins of power weeks later.

But Sam's written Jacinda for the graduates' production of The Actor's Programme, but the play's not about political wrangling, or at least, not directly.  Instead it looks at change - both exciting and terrifying.  

And despite the title, Jacinda is less about politicians and more about how they affect the lives of everyday people.

Lynn Freeman talks to Sam Brooks and to cast member Ruby Hansen.   Sam says that the change of government and leader saw conflicting emotions throughout the country - from joy and hope to rage and fear.

Jacinda premieres on the 14th of November at Auckland's Basement Theatre. 

1:48 The street art of Wellington photographer Julian Ward

Wellington photographer Julian Ward has been traipsing Wellington's city streets for several decades now, camera in hand, documenting how the Capital has changed, and how in many ways, it's stayed the same.

The black and white images of the city are revealing, and a fraction of what he's captured can be found in his book Wellington Streets.

But it was his images of India that saw Julian invited to exhibit and speak at a major photography exhibition in China recently.

Julian Ward's work there attracted the attention of other countries potentially interested in showing his photographs including his Wellington images.

Julian tells Lynn Freeman that the Chinese exhibition is hard to describe:

2:06 The Laugh Track - Tom Clarke

Tom Clarke

Tom Clarke Photo: supplied

Just a  couple of years out of Drama School and actor Tom Clarke already has two acting awards to his name, and is about to appear in Shortland Street The Musical.  he's playing that much-loved, hapless character of Lionel.

His picks on the Laugh Track include Leslie Nielson, Kath and Kim, David Sederis and Flight of the Conchords.

2:25 Museum consultant Sue Hodges on interpreting our heritage

Sue Hodges

Sue Hodges Photo: supplied

Having a great collection of artifacts is certainly important to our regional museums.

But it's not enough on its own.   If you can't explain to enough visitors what makes that collection remarkable, museums simply won't survive.

This week museum staff from around the country are gathering in Auckland to swap ideas about the big issues they're facing, and also to hear from international experts in the field - like Australian Sue Hodges whose company SHP's specialty is "heritage interpretation".  That means helping museums, cities and even World Heritage sites to communicate with their visitors.

Sue tells Lynn Freeman that tourists these days want both accurate information and authentic experiences when they go travelling:

She's one of the guest speakers at the International Council of Museums conference in Auckland starting tomorrow.

2:38  Anne Kennedy's novel tackles art and climate change

Anne Kennedy

Anne Kennedy Photo: Robert Cross

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Photo: supplied

After a messy break up writer Janice wants to find a new home for her beloved fridge before she takes up an arts fellowship in Antarctica.

Janice may be on the brink of success, but her chaotic personality puts everything at risk.

That's the bare bones of Anne Kennedy's  novel - The Ice Shelf.

The award winning poet, novelist, teacher, editor and scriptwriter offers a satirical perspective of the arts and writing, while at the same time drawing our attention to the very serious issue of climate change.

Anne Kennedy talks to Lynn Freeman about The Ice Shelf,  published by Victoria University Press.

2:47  Bari Ziperstein turns propaganda into ceramic art

Los Angeles-based artist Bari Ziperstein creates pots that are politically provocative.  They may use historic Russian propaganda images, or comment on America's current political turmoil.

Bari's over here to judge the 2018 Portage Ceramics Awards.  The winner of this snapshot of New Zealand's contemporary ceramics scene will be announced later this week.

Bari herself has also produced large scale public artworks, as well as a line of functional ceramics.  But her heart lies in creating works that challenge peoples' views on  issues like politics and consumerism.

Lynn Freeman asked her why she loves working in clay.

The finalists of the 2018 Portage Ceramic Awards are on show at Te Uru  Waitakere Contemporary Gallery in Auckland.

3:06 Feature at 3 - Beyond Kate #7

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Sonia Sly's podcast looks at the legacy of Kate Sheppard, 125 years after the introduction of universal suffrage. From children’s toys and the unconscious language used in schools by children and teachers alike to television advertisements and clothing. All of these shape the way we perceive gender and the differences between the sexes.

But how do these things translate into adulthood, especially when it comes to gendered professions. Find out more in this week’s episode of RNZ Podcast Beyond Kate which focuses on education for girls, from past to present.  It's  called "Gender bias and baking the perfect scone".   


Music played in this show


Artist:  Sugababes
Song:  Change
Composer: Berrabah-Buchanan
Album: Change
Label: Universal
Played at: 12.34

Artist: Natalie Merchant
Song: It makes a change
Composer: Merchant-Peake
Album: Selections for Leave Your Sleep
Label: Nonesuch
Played at:  12.58

Artist: Leela James
Song:  A change is gonna come
Composer: Cooke
Album: A change is gonna come
Label: Warners
Played at: 1.08

Artist: Beatles
Song:  Don't ever change
Composer: Goffin-King
Album: Live at the BBC
Label: Apple
Played at:  1.45


Song: Don't change
Composer: InXS
Album: Shabooh Shoobah
Label: ATCO
Played at: 1.58

Artist: Tracy Chapman
Song: The times they are a changin'
Composer:  Dylan
Album: Bob Dylan: The 30th Anniversary Concert Celebration
Label: Columbia
Played at: 2.04

Artist: Julie London
Song: There'll be some changes made
Composer: Higgins-Overstreet
Album: The best of the Liberty years
Label: EMI
Played at: 2.36

Artist: Climie Fisher
Song: Love changes everything
Composer: Climie-Morgan-Fisher
Album: Greatest hits of the 80s
Label: Disky
Played at:  2.58

Artist:  Taylor Swift & Ed Sheeran
Song: Everything has changed
Composer: Sheeran-Swift
Album: Red
Label: Bigmachine
Played at:  3.04

Artist: Little River Band
Song: Cool change
Composer: Shorrock
Album: Greatest hits
Label: Capitol
Played at:  3.58

Artist: Tina Cross
Song: Theme from Shortland Street   
Composer: Bollard
Album: (single)
Label:South Pacific
Played at: (trailer)