Nigel Brown Talks About National Identity for Cultural Icons

Nigel Brown Cultural Icons Interview #58

Episode #58 of the Cultural Icons series features Nigel Brown returning for a second interview with author and curator Richard Wolfe. Nigel and Richard discuss the subject of National Identity and Nigel’s own work. The designer of the Museum of the Vernacular (MOV) emblem, Nigel also has his work prominently displayed in the current exhibition at the MOV, Lounge.

In this episode of Cultural Icons Nigel discusses at length his fascination with kiwi iconography and a parallel, if somewhat humorous, admiration for local souvenir shops. He talks about his early encounter with the force -both physical and psychological- of the atomic bomb, and his constant observation of the dualities at play in the New Zealand psyche.

He discusses repetition of motifs in his work and the similarities he sees to the art of tribal peoples both locally and in Australia. His yarn is peppered with post-colonialist sentiment, activist fervour and a disdain for the status quo making it a lively insight into one of New Zealand’s most seminal painters. Nigel here waxes lyrically and un-pretentiously about the good, the bad, and the ugly of what it means to be from New Zealand.

Nigel Brown’s first Cultural Icons interview is an enlightening and candid discussion with writer/musician Denys Trussell.

Nigel and Denys are friends and collaborators; in 2004 Nigel exhibited a series of work inspired by ‘The Dance of the Origin’, a poem by Denys. The interview takes a conversational form with the two talking about (among other things) the future of painting, the relationship between poetic words and visuals in Nigel’s work and his use of recurring symbols, such as the axe man, driveways and the little dog.