‘Remembering Roy’ is a fascinating exhibition of artwork produced by Roy Dunningham’s friends, former students, mentorees and admirers in his honour, curated by a former student, Delicia Sampero and John Eaden.

The extraordinary list of artists represented here contains a number of New Zealand’s top artists and creatives and is something of a ‘who’s who’ in the New Zealand artworld (see the full list below). 

The late Roy Dunningham taught for many years at Hastings Boys’ and Havelock North High Schools and was involved in the visual arts as an arts educator, advisor, reviewer and arts advocate for most of his life. 

In her essay for the exhibition, Toni MacKinnon states, “Roy became an inspirational teacher, providing a safe haven for students in contrast with the strict culture typical of secondary school education at the time. Artists taught by Roy, credit him for opening up new worlds to them and setting them on their career path.”

More than forty artists have presented their paintings (or sculptures) and there are some profound and eye-catching works – from two large, lewd and beautifully executed paintings by Gary Waldrom, to a portrait of Roy painted by a 14 year old Freeman White. There are grand metal sculptures by Ricks Terstappen with a religious theme and from former students – an installation ‘The Wagging Room’ that recalls the reluctant schoolboy that was Regan Gentry and who is now a critically acclaimed artist and sculptor. There is the record cover designed by Phil Judd the singer-songwriter-artist member of Split Enz through to recent paintings by Matthew Couper, the internally recognised artist based in the US, and many others.

The more-than-usually interesting labels recall Roy with love and affection. In their own words each artist speaks of his influence on them, through his teaching skills, and his open and honest way of giving feedback. Delicia Sampero says, “He was not afraid to give honest and constructive criticism and as a critic, would frequently draw insightful relationships and share from his wealth of knowledge about art.”

Mr Dunningham’s personal art collection is positioned in the front-facing space of the gallery, a wonderfully eclectic collection that sits well with in the exhibition as it features mainly local artists and his former students. The most dominant of these is a painting by Helen Kerridge, ‘Jason ponders the length of a piece of string’, an exquisitely rendered reference to the Renaissance painter Goya.

The exhibition itself is the brainchild of two of his friends and artists, Ricks Terstappen and Gary Waldrom. After his death earlier this year they suggested the tribute exhibition to Arts Inc Heretaunga who were keen to adopt the idea, including it as part of this year’s Hawke’s Bay Art Festival. It is one of the reduced number of events still going ahead as part of the 2021 delta-Covid-affected festival. 

Artist contributors to ‘Remembering Roy’:

Camellia Ahrens, Wellesley Binding, Beverly Blogg, Charles Bradley, Richard Brimer, Matthew Couper, Carla Crasborn, Diane Crompton, Jinny Dawson, Shirley De Luca, Patricia Dick, Angela Dudman, Sharleen Gamble, Regan Gentry, Clayton Gibson, Cate Godwin, Jane Gray, Elton Gregory, David Guerin, Catherine Haslam, Michael Hawkesworth, Phil Judd, Catherine Jurgens, Bill Kearns, Helen Kerridge, Tom Lusk, Kaye McGarva, Annie Melchoir, Maree Mills, Diane Morris, Bev Pawluk, John Ruth, Delicia Sampero, Esther Smith, Rosamund Stewart, Ricks Terstappen, Fiona Tindall, Debra Thompson, Brent Treacher, Sam Trubridge, Gary Waldrom, Freeman White, Bernard Winkles

‘Remembering Roy’ is at Arts Inc Heretaunga, Russell Street, Hastings and runs from 6 to 30 October.

Photo: Lisa-Jane Easter

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