Roy Dunningham. Photo: Bill Kearns

Roy Dunningham, a much loved and respected arts advocate, teacher, mentor and artists’ friend, died in April and the visual arts community of Hawke’s Bay mourns the loss of this very special man.

As a tribute to him, a memorial exhibition, ‘Remembering Roy’ is being planned to take place during the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival in October. A call is out to his former art students and mentorees to submit work. 

The exhibition venue will be the Hastings Community Art Gallery in Russell Street.

Roy had a lifetime’s involvement in the visual arts during which he taught, mentored and supported many artists in Hawke’s Bay. There must be hundreds of artists who, as his former students, were taught and nurtured by him into finding their creativity and who are now scattered across New Zealand and overseas.

Wherever they are, their proposals for inclusion will be welcomed by the curators of the exhibition, with the intention of giving an insight into the developments that grew from his early influences upon currently active artists. 

It’s also a testament to artists who wish to acknowledge Roy and the part he played in the development of their arts practice. The exhibition will feature selected works from his own art collection alongside works by well-known Hawke’s Bay artists. 

The memorial exhibition was first suggested by Waipawa-based artist Gary Waldrom and Ricks Terstappen who were good friends of Roy and is being selected and curated by panel led by John Eaden and Delicia Sampero; submissions deadline is August 6.

Roy first developed his love of art in secondary school where he was taught by New Zealand ceramics pioneer and painter Yvonne Rust. He went on to study at Ilam School of Fine Arts at the University of Canterbury, where amongst his contemporaries were painters Quentin Macfarlane and Pat Hanly. On his return to Hawke’s Bay, Roy taught at local high schools where he was regarded as one of the younger generation of more progressive teachers. 

Amongst Roy’s students were artists Sam Trubridge, Regan Gentry, Freeman White, the internationally recognised Matthew Couper and artist/musician Phil Judd, to name but a few who have already expressed interest. 

Phil Judd commented: “I would love to be part of that in some way … Roy was the ultimate inspirational teacher to me and definitely helped me stay focused re school and art. I loved the man.”

Roy encouraged late starter artists (such as myself) with thoughtfully considered advice and was involved in so many other ways too. He was on the Hastings City Art Gallery art acquisitions panel, a frequently sought out judge and selector for Hawke’s Bay art shows and awards, guide for the U3A art appreciation group, provided art criticism and was always an advocate for the visual arts. 

CALL TO ARTISTS : from Arts Inc Heretaunga

As part of the Hawke’s Bay Arts Festival 2021, Arts Inc Heretaunga is calling on artists who knew Roy in his role as a teacher, mentor, art critic, supporter or friend and want to acknowledge him and the part he played in the development of their own arts practice.  

The exhibition will feature selected works of local and national artists from his own art collection alongside works selected as part of this Open Call by artists who wish to pay tribute to his influence in honing their voice.  

Please send the following information to: pitsch@hbaf.co.nz 

  • High resolution photos of max 3 works you would like to be considered for the exhibition 
  • Short description of each work submitted including title dimensions and media 
  • Short paragraph of your connection to Roy and how he has influenced your work/career 
  • Artist Bio 

All works will be considered by a selection panel of local artists as well as curators John Eaden and Delicia Sampero 

All submitted works will feature online as part of the exhibition Remembering Roy

All works can be offered for sale and will command a 33% (plus GST) commission 

There is no cost to submit or exhibit the works. All submitted works will feature online as part of the exhibition Remembering Roy.

Exhibition details:
When:  4 – 30 October 2021
Where: Hastings Community Art Centre

Special thanks go to Roy’s family and artists Gary Waldron and Ricks Terstappen for their support in making this exhibition a reality. 

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