Joan Fear

Campbell Smith



  • Mural


  • Ceramic


  • H610 x W1440mm

Joan Fear & Campbell Smith, ‘Untitled’ (1998), ArtPost Building, CBD, Kirikiriroa Hamilton

Images: Bronwyn Holloway-Smith, Public Art Heritage Aotearoa New Zealand, 2022


Embedded into the wall of the ArtPost Building is a series of etched and sculpted terracotta tiles. A collaboration between 2 prominent Hamilton artists, it was created for the reopening of the old Post Office. The tiles depict different styles of art (top row of tiles), and 3 significant women artists from New Zealand - Ida Carey, Frances Hodgkins and Margot Philips (lower row).

An information panel installed with the work reads:

“It could be easy to bypass this terracotta tile work because terracotta objects are often thought of as bricks, or ceramic pot plant holders. But this collaboration between two of the Waikato’s most important developers of the art scene in Hamilton, Joan Fear and Dr Campbell Smith, is so much more than wall decoration.

The work is made using the bas relief technique of removing clay to produce varying depths in the clay. The deeper the gouge, the more contrast there is to the areas that sit proud, creating the illusion of depth.

Joan Fear (top row) depicts a very concise art history inclusive of an unknown Palaeolithic cave artist (circa 10,000 years ago), Leonardo Da Vinci (b. 1452 - d. 1519), Edvard Munch(b.1863 - d. 1944), Paul Klee (b.1879 - d.1940), Georgia O’Keeffe (b.1887 - d.1986) and an unknown Waikato Maaori cave artist (circa 600 – 1000 years ago).

Dr Campbell Smith (bottom row), using imagery and text, has rendered three pioneers of European modernism in local Waikato and New Zealand’s broader art history. Ida Carey (b.1891 - d.1982), Margot Philips (b.1902 - d.1988) and ex-patriate, Francis Hodgkins (b.1869 - d.1947). These artists spent almost their entire lives dedicated to art and ensuring its place is alive in the life of our city."