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Penny Clark – It couldn’t happen here

May 18, 2020 @ 10:00 am - June 10, 2020 @ 3:30 pm

It couldn’t happen here, but it did. The March 15th terrorist attack in Christchurch was the instigation for this project of pictures and words by Penny Clark.  It started simply as note taking. Small collages on paper compiled from ink and coloured pencils were Penny’s response to the Christchurch Mosques Shooting.


Like many, Clark didn’t recognise her own country. Following the chaotic avalanche of news, posts, information, interviews, editorials, photos, she attempts to answer the unease within herself by sorting and identifying themes and making connections ranging from the personal to the world stage.  The troubling questions raised shaped this art.


Why? It seemed inexplicable? What has changed in the aftermath? How do we see ourselves? What darker issues are we not addressing? These works don’t give one comfort but for this artist there is solace in searching for an explanation.


Gallery Hours During Level 2 Lockdown:

Monday: 12pm – 3:30pm
Tuesday – Friday: 10am – 3:30pm
Saturday: 10am – 4:00pm
Sundays and public holidays: Closed



Penny Clark, Enabling Hate, Pen and coloured ink on paper.

Worldwide hate is increasing. We know how crude and terrible targeting the ‘Other’ can be. Yet now it is seeping into the mainstream, whipped up by populist leaders and powering extremists.

Here Donald Trump strikes a match; an inflammatory tweet – fuel for Richard Spencer, leader of the alt-right. The ugly stink spreads.


Penny Clark, When does free speech become hate speech?, Pencil and coloured ink on paper.

The New Zealand Bill Of Rights Act 1990 sets out the basic freedoms of New Zealanders including the right to freedom of thought and expression. So what is the right balance between an individual’s rights, society and the state? In this work I wanted to illustrate just that. Weighing up those differences.

As Kiwis we aspire to be a caring and kind society. Yet we are exposed to elements that test our shared values and well-being whether by social media or foreign powers. The terrorist attack showed how vital it is in our democracy that the privilege of free expression be tempered by respect for others and the government is open and transparent.


Penny Clark, Be the Nation We Believe Ourselves To Be, Pencil and coloured ink on paper.

“Let us be the nation we believe ourselves to be” Jacinda Arden’s speech at the National Remembrance Service in Christchurch struck me as a challenge for our country to live up to.

On the left I drew a copy of McCahon’s “‘I am” [1954] because it’s a robust symbol for how I felt. I also enjoy the fact it was used as a stamp because Jacinda Ardern’s words make me want to jump up and respond with a stamp “I am!”



May 18, 2020 @ 10:00 am
June 10, 2020 @ 3:30 pm
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