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New Zealand Female Visual Artists

New Zealand Female Visual Artists

We’re always hearing about the male artists that have changed the world; you know the ones, like Leonardo Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet etc etc, but what about the female artists? There were and still are many women involved in painting and visual arts in fact more women than men these days.

Main Image is "Rita Angus Smoking

Internationally there are many great female artists like Frida Kahlo for one!  Today however Im going to focus on New Zealand female visual artists since that’s where I am from and it interests me so much more.

This list is of some of the most well known female visual artists in New Zealand, however it does not contain all of them and I would like to see it grow. Anyone wishing to add a name or two and their relevant information please feel free to contact me. This post will be a work in progress for the duration of the 365 days of 2010.  



Francis Hodgkins was born in Dunedin, New Zealand in 1869. She is most admired for the freely painted works of her later life. I found out an interesting fact while studying her in that she is an artistic descendant of Henri Matisse. Frances died in 1947.


Robyn Kahukiwa was born in Sydney in 1941. She moved to New Zealand in the late 1950s. Based in Rotorua, Robyn is a leading Maori artist who has done much to raise awareness of Contemporary Maori art on the world stage. A staunch supporter of of Maori rights and the power and prestige of Maori women, she has been exhibiting nationally and internationally for over 30 years. She has works in major museum collections worldwide. As well as painting, drawing printmaking and sculpture, Kahukiwa writes and illustrates childrens books.


Rita Angus was born in 1908. She is considered to be an important contributor during her life to the modernist art movement in New Zealand. The use of sharp lighting, flattened outlined forms and strong patterning in her treatment of clouds and hill formations came to typify her work. Rita died in 1970


Or full name and title, Dame Louise Etiennette Sidonie Henderson was born in Paris in 1902. She immigrated to New Zealand in 1923 with her Kiwi husband. A cubist painter she was recognised as one of the leading Modernist painters. Her outstanding contribution to New Zealand painting was recognised in 1973 through the granting of a Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council fellowship.   


Gretchen Albrecht was born in Onehunga, New Zealand in 1943. She is one of our well known painter and printmakers still working today. Gretchen work is abstract and expresses itself through the use of colour, gesture and form. She is also known for her use of lunette and ovaloid canvases.


Emily Karaka was born in 1952; Emily is a political artist communicating her ideas through a fusion of traditional Maori form and motif, and the bright colours and roughly textured surfaces of European Expressionism. Her work is an assertion of her identity as a Maori woman. It discusses issues surrounding The Treaty and land rights. Her paintings often feature numbers, which represent land claims before the Waitangi Tribunal. She was one of the women artists who brought a new force to the Maori art movement in the 1980s.


Anna Lois White was born in 1903. Influenced by the Art Deco movement her work employs the use of pattern, simplified form and the impression of movement: suiting large scale formats. While unpopular during the 1960’s and 1970’s, the current return to figurative painting in the arts has meant a re-evaluation of White’s work, so these days she is now recognised as one of New Zealand's most distinctive and individual artists of the 20th Century. Lois died in 1984


Philippa Blair was born in Christchurch, New Zealand in 1945, but now lives and works in California. She makes frequent trips to New Zealand to exhibit and visit family. Philippa’s work has been described as ‘conceptual abstraction’. Primarily a painter, her work has taken on three dimensional elements with her use of folded canvasses and the book format. Her subject matter ranges from ideas about process to mythology.

Rozi Demant

Rozi Demant was born in Whakatane in 1984. Rozi created quite a bit of controversy by being one of the few New Zealand artists to experience 5 sell out shows in succession since her first solo show in 2002 at the age of 17. Rozi’s paintings remain distinctive and unclassifiable with a rare, enigmatic and captivating beauty.

Judy Darragh

Judy Darragh is an Auckland based artist who was born in Christchurch in 1957. Throughout her career, Judy has brought to our attention the flagrant waste of the consumer society by using our left over debris to make amusing sculptural assemblages and installations that reek of sentimentality. Her fondness for everyday objects in particular our national icons such as, pottery, tikis, beads, plastic flowers, paua, dolls, cake tins, bottles and 1950’s glassware are some of the items crafted into her  glorious museum displays.  She has exhibited widely in New Zealand and has works in collections around the country. In the mid-90s she made her debut as co-director in two documentary films for TVNZ.

Posted: Tuesday 6 April 2010


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Don't forget to take a look at more of New Zealand contemporary artist's work in Collette's Online Galleries