Trains, Boats and Planes


Trains, Boats and Planes

Michael Haggie

Opening: March 17 5:30 pm

Viewing: March 17 until March 28

These paintings celebrate the period of travel in New Zealand during the 1960-1970s era. They are unashamedly nostalgic and colourful. A world that has virtually disappeared into our collective memory.

Notes on Painting: Memory and Nostalgia:

This exhibition consists of two sets of paintings from 2010, and 2021 respectively. The earlier paintings of oil on galvanised steel have not been exhibited before in Whanganui. Both sets of paintings deal with the same subject. They all depict a collective travel culture experienced in 1960 – 70’s Aotearoa, New Zealand and beyond. They derive from memories I have of travel and from collected images that are reworked from black and white to colour and recomposed in format.

Train in Central Otago Landscape, Summer 1965, in-situ at Space in Trains, Boats and Planes, Gallery 2

As the Burt Bacharach song title of this exhibition goes, all these scenes are passing by. I want to evoke with feelings of nostalgia, all the aura, grit, and steam of that travel period. From the sulphurous smell of a steam train or to the zip of a fast railcar, or to the sheer newness of a sleek jet or turbo prop airliner waiting on a new tarmac, this is memory lost and regained. I recall reading Proust and this travel series is similarly about the recovery of memory that we all share.

This world has now virtually disappeared in this country in 2021. The loss of local travel which was at its heart, community centred, is at the core of these paintings. An old woman waiting at a rainswept outlying station is put beside a summer airport tondo, the airport building being a small shed.

Our cars have replaced all these travel arrangements. The pleasure gained from being an unknown passenger seated alongside one’s fellow compatriots and travelling though beautiful landscapes is not our southern experience anymore. One must travel north to the world of local trains in Europe or the UK for that.

Our collective memory and our stories behind the past world, beg to be remembered.

Being a maestro in this world, is a role that I enjoy.

{Gallery 2}

This exhibition runs in conjunction with Artists Open Studios. In addition to our usual viewing hours it will be open Saturday/ Sunday: 21st-22nd & 27th-28th March 10am-4.30pm; visit during these times and you’ll see the show and our artist studios upstairs also.