Art I’m Into: Charlotte Davy, Head of Art

Text extract and image from Ten x Ten: Art at Te Papa, edited by Athol McCredie.

Colin McCahon, Scared, 1976, acrylic on paper. © Courtesy of the Colin McCahon Research and Publication Trust. Te Papa (2008-0007-1)

Scared, 1976, by Colin McCahon

“When I first unpacked this work from its travelling crate an uncontrollable shiver went up my spine. It was so raw and immediate. I still have a visceral reaction when I see it today.

Cover detail of Ten x Ten: Art at Te Papa, edited by Athol McCredie, Te Papa Press, 2017.

“McCahon makes every brushstroke count. A sense of complete doubt is conveyed in the intense black: the painting seems to be saying ‘I’m so scared, I don’t know what to do with myself and I question my place in this existence’. But then ‘I stand up’: I’m still doubting, but I exist. There’s something powerful about that. In a sense it’s ‘victory over death’ (as another McCahon title has it), victory over fear and infirmity. Courage and faith will win out.”

Charlotte Davy, 2017. Photograph by Jane Ussher