Neil Grant

b. 1938

Also known as:

  • Neil Macalister Grant

Neil Grant was born in Napier to parents who, as school teachers, shifted placement often. In 1960 he completed his Diploma in Fine Arts in Sculpture from the University of Canterbury, following which he trained as a secondary school teacher.

After teaching at schools in Auckland, in 1976 Grant took a lecturing position in the ceramics department at the Dunedin School of Art (Otago Polytechnic), eventually becoming the Head of Ceramics. Grant retired in 2003 but continued as a part-time lecturer as the Distance Learning Programme Coordinator.

In 1965 Grant took time off from his teaching to attend ceramics workshops with visiting Japanese master, Shoji Hamada. They formed a strong connection and Grant learnt from Hamada many of the traditional Japanese and Chinese ceramic techniques central to his later practice.

Grant is best known for his domestic stoneware and the sculptural Nikau Series and Wavy Line "piece pots" from the 1970s. He was recognised as a master potter by inclusion in the World Expo Exhibition (Osaka '70), the QEII Commonwealth Games Exhibition (1974), and the International Museum of Ceramics collection at the Musée Ariana (Geneva).

During the 1980s and through to the 2000s Grant was active in all major pottery conventions and exhibitions in New Zealand. In 2021 Grant's practice was celebrated with the publication of Neil Grant: Master Potter, text by Peter Stupples.

See also:

Neil Grant, ‘Nikau 28’ (1995), Otago Polytechnic, CBD, Ōtepoti Dunedin

Images: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa, 2021