In the late 1960s, dark things began to emerge from Tony Fomison’s paintings. His monsters, misfits, and medical deformities challenged polite society, and explored what it means to be an outsider.
This was a particularly troubled period in Fomison’s life. He had just returned to Christchurch from travels in Europe and was broke, grappling with addiction, and cynical about society.
Yet the humanity of his grotesque paintings resonated profoundly with many – making him one of the most important New Zealand painters of his generation.
Tony Fomison: Lost in the Dark is a collaboration between Wellington High School students and Te Papa. Students workshopped the theme of ‘otherness’ in Fomison’s work, which helped shape the creative approach.
Image credit: Tony Fomison, Portrait of a lag (kitchen), 1970, Christchurch Collection of Te Papa. Purchased 1972 with Ellen Eames Collection funds. Te Papa (1972-0037-1)
Developed and Toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa