Remembering Artist Don Driver at Te Papa

13 December 2011

Te Papa is sad to report the news that contemporary New Zealand artist Don Driver died on 8 December 2011.

To celebrate Driver’s remarkable work and to acknowledge his contribution to contemporary New Zealand art, Te Papa has installed one of his classic assemblage works, Yellow skin 90 (1984) at its Collecting Contemporary exhibition.

“He made works that shocked astonished and enthralled audiences. He had a singular vision and approach towards making art. By transforming ordinary materials into striking artworks, Driver constantly challenged us to examine our immediate surroundings” says Sarah Farrar, Curator of Contemporary Art.

Don Driver often worked with the forms and colour of objects around him, frequently salvaging discarded materials. Rather than disguise the past life of his materials, he re-presented them in un-expected and thought-provoking combinations.

Yellow skin 90 is a classic example of Driver’s work – a tarpaulin, an animal skin and a hook are set alongside other objects to become an exploration of colour, texture and form.

Te Papa is proud to have a considerable number of works by Don Driver in its collection including the terrific Lawn Cuttings (1976), the large-scale installation Ritual (1982) and the banner work Blue and green Pacific (1978). To see images of these works, go to and search for Don Driver.

There will be the chance to see Ritual in early 2012 when it goes on display at City Gallery Wellington in their exhibition The Obstinate Object: Contemporary New Zealand Sculpture.

The staff at Te Papa wish to express their sadness and condolences to Don’s wife Joyce Driver, his family and friends.

Media contact

Filipo Katavake-McGrath, Manager, Communications
029 6010 180