On view upstairs at the i-Site (31 Taupō Quay)
The Castle (1997) is an Australian movie about the Kerrigan family in Melbourne. There’s a scene where Sal Kerrigan gifts her husband, Darryl, a ceramic tankard. Overwhelmed with emotion, Darryl announces that the tankard is “going straight to the pool room.” It was too good to use, instead it was now a cherished and valued object. This exhibition is not about The Castle, but about the works that potter, Ross Mitchell-Anyon (1954-2022), gifted his parents, Dolly (1930-2021) and Barrie Mitchell-Anyon (1929-2007), from the 1970s onwards.
When Ross’s works were at Dolly and Barrie’s house, they were in use; in the garden, the lounge or in the kitchen. They had passed the muster, survived decades of use and witnessed multiple generations of children growing up. In 2021 when Dolly passed away, the family decided to donate the pottery as a collection. The pots in this exhibition are a snapshot of a home; as well as a precis of Ross Mitchell-Anyon’s different styles and periods of production.
In keeping with The Castle analogies, the ‘vibe’ of these objects has since shifted with their change in scene. It might seem counter to their original use, making the domestic pottery no longer usable as intended. However, these works were used and loved for decades by both Dolly and Barrie, but also the wider Mitchell-Anyon family at gatherings. It is appropriate that the collection stays together, in its new home at the Gallery to be enjoyed by others. They, therefore, have officially made the transition to Whanganui’s ‘pool room’ – the Sarjeant Gallery’s permanent collection where they’ll be enjoying the serenity of retirement from now on.
This exhibition was made possible with the support of the Blumhardt Foundation and Creative New Zealand.