Entangled histories, Megan Dunn

Strangers Arrive: Emigrés and the Arts in New Zealand 1930-1980
Leonard Bell
Auckland University Press, $75.00,
ISBN 9781869408732

Did you realise that artist Theo Schoon, best known for his modernist photographs of rippling mud pools, also performed Balinese dance? Have you heard of the Prague-born architect Imric Porsolt, once the art critic for the Auckland Star, his writing so biting and insightful that Colin McCahon declared: “Before Mr Porsolt there was no art criticism in New Zealand”? And what of the smoking dame on the cover of Strangers Arrive: Emigrés and the Arts in New Zealand, 1930-1980, her right hand tilted just so, the smoke spooling in a plume by her lit profile; her stare snaps back at the photographer as if to say “Stranger to whom?”

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