Happy Birthday

When you want something that says more than a photo will.

5. Sitting the Toddler.

Being the late 60s and my father being the only driver in the house, I wouldn’t have left our home very often. And being the late 60s in Wellington, New Zealand, there wasn’t that much on offer to entertain a mother and baby in town. Play Centre didn’t happen until age three so until then
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4. Joan

This is my mum’s painting of Joan Fanning. By the time the two had met, Joan had already studied at London’s Slade school (one of the first New Zealanders to) and was about to go to St. Martins on the recommendation of their ferocious teacher, Barc (Helen Crabb, but more on her later) A calm Catholic woman,
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3. Posing the baby.

Over the next five years my mother learnt to extend any activity that she and I were engaged in. Gazing, feeding, occupying my attention in order to help Joan Fanning create her fine series of mother and child drawings. The best of which were later exhibited at the  Bett-Duncan Gallery on Cuba St, Wellington and
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2. Birth.

With not even a year having passed since their second-born had died, my parents’ fourth was born. Me. Spring had arrived but I was two weeks late, jaundiced and no doubt my family probably still didn’t know up from down. Over the next five years my mum’s friend and artist, Joan Fanning, set a rhythm
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1. My mother ‘sat to’.

This is my mother, Pat Fry, or Paddy as she was to her family. Her friend, Joan Fanning, who trained at both London’s St. Martin’s and Slade art schools painted it and the wee bump behind the belt is me.  Joan said that she noticed my mum’s spirit gradually lift out of unimaginable grief at
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