River Crossings

I was fascinated with this artwork in the Dunedin Public Art Gallery, viewed on 13 June 2021. With lots of mountains and hills, high rainfall in many places and snow in some, we have lots of fast-flowing rivers which can be extremely dangerous to cross (particularly after heavy rain). In the white settler days drownings were known as “the New Zealand death”.

There are still river crossing deaths every year – a mix of New Zealanders and foreign visitors. It’s not unusual to need to wade rivers when tramping (hiking) because not all rivers or streams have bridges. So now I’ve mentioned this, I’ll give you a link to the River Safety web page from the NZ Mountain Safety Council.

Part of a current exhibition Hurahia ana kā Whetū (runs till 03 July 2022)

click on any photo to enlarge


River Crossings (1990) by Peter Nicholls [1936-2021] d. 03 Feb

~ given to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery by the artist in 2019


Information about the work and artist …

Also I’ll give you this link to a journal article with photos of some very interesting works of his. Although older (1984) I enjoyed this article, with the writer’s focus being on the artist’s “monumental works”. In Art New Zealand.


Text and photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2021)

7 thoughts on “River Crossings

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  1. There’s both beauty and meaning in this piece. I imagine that the objects were lost by travellers who crossed the river and that there’s a story behind each one. Makes me realise how much we can take for granted here, where there’s usually some sort of bridge!

    Liked by 1 person

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