Tia Ranginui, Artist 2016 © All rights reserved See full details

Object Detail

When Tia Ranginui was young, she was sent by her mother to stay in a convent in Hirhārama/Jerusalem during the holidays. This work depicts the bed where Tia slept, with a window above the bed looking out to a dark and misty forest.

During the night, the nuns would wake Tia in their habits with rifles slung over their shoulders. It was Tia’s job to hold the flashlight as they went out to shoot possums. With its lurid colours and old-fashioned floral bedspread, Tia’s image speaks to such surreal childhood memories, tinged with both nostalgia and a haunting sense of the rural Gothic.

Hiruhārama was created by the Catholic Sisters of Compassion, who took in and cared for children since the late 19th century. In the 1970s, poet James K Baxter created a community there of Māori and Pākehā based on a philosophy of mutual support. These beds have also drawn the eye of photographers such as Anne Noble and Paul Johns.
Production date
archival pigment ink on Hahnemühle Photo Rag
580 mm x 862mm x 45mm
Credit line
Collection of The Dowse Art Museum, purchased 2021
Accession number