n De Arte - Banners, batons and barbed wire : anti-apartheid images of the Springbok rugby tour protests in New Zealand

Volume 2007, Issue 76
  • ISSN : 0004-3389
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Anti-apartheid campaigns dated back to at least the 1960s in New Zealand, when Maori players in early All Black teams were prohibited from playing rugby in South Africa. Protests peaked in 1981 when the Springbok-All Black rugby tour was played in New Zealand; it divided the country and brought it to the brink of civil war. Like so many others, artists participated in the public demonstrations and campaigns, but they also sought ways to use their creative skills in innovative strategies, using media beyond their customary 'gallery art' - banners, balloons, prints, posters and street theatre. This paper draws on material uncovered in archives in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin, as well as private collections, to investigate this rather neglected form of New Zealand visual culture - the choice of images for posters, for example, and their deployment in relation to verbal messages in the context of popular propaganda. It also considers interactions between artists' studio practice and their political works.

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