Brenda Liddiard

Whose Shoulders Am I Standing On?:

The Ancestor Series


This series of paintings is a continuation of the theme of my 2014 exhibition, Arrivals & Departures – Forty years of flight, which examined the realities and conflicts brought about by leaving the place of my birth and my family, and starting a new life on the other side of the world.

In this series I was inspired by the work of my tutors, Allie Eagle and Cushla Parakowhai, as they revisited the techniques of the old Masters to examine Cushla’s mixed Maori and European heritage, and how the cultures of her ancestors impact on present day life in New Zealand.

With my own work I am looking at the lives of a few of my female ancestors – my paternal great grandmother, my paternal grandmother and her sister, and my own mother. I am who I am, in part, because of who they were and how their lives were lived. Who might I have been, for instance, if they had been early immigrants to New Zealand?