10 Feb 2017

Lyttelton's famous faces return

From Jesse Mulligan, 1–4pm, 1:25 pm on 10 February 2017

Historic figures from Lyttelton (some notable and some everyday people) have been brought to life in a new exhibition of 23 compelling portraits.

Artist Julia Holden used current local residents as models for the portraits – dressing them in costumes and painting their skin before they were photographed.

Holden says the costumes were sourced at a clothing warehouse near her house that sells items for $3 apiece. The models either wear wigs or a clay cast of hair.

To protect their skin she used a barrier cream before painting the model's clothing, skin and wig or head with Resene house paints.

Sound accompanies each of the portraits – archival audio relating to the historical figure (courtesy of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision) coupled with the voice of the person modelling.

Adam McGrath, singer with Lyttelton folk band The Eastern, was the model for The Sheep Stealer – a portrait of the Scottish immigrant drover James McKenzie who infamously stole 1000 sheep from a station near Timaru in 1855.

The audio accompanying McKenzie's portrait is a clip from a 1950s radio show called The Romance of Lyttelton followed by Adam McGrath performing an original song ‘McKenzie and His Dog’.

Lyttelton Redux includes a walking tour, which is available until the end of March 2017.