Rita Angus and edible art

Edible Rita Angus

Edible Rita Angus

We’re a creative bunch here at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, as evidenced by a recent social club cake decorating competition. For my money, the outstanding entry was the three-dimensional recreation of Rita Angus‘s well-known painting ‘Cass’, which depicts the rural Cass railway station and the looming mountains beyond (pictured at left). You will be pleased to know that, as well as looking gorgeous, the mountains – which were painstakingly constructed from blocks of chocolate cake, cemented with ganache and covered with melted white chocolate – were delicious.

The cake creators included our colleagues from NZlive.com, who were inspired by the exhibition, Rita Angus: Life and Vision, which opened at Te Papa last weekend. This exhibition honours the centenary of her birth, and brings together almost 200 of her works, including paintings, sketches and studies.

Rita Angus is well known for her modernist interpretations of New Zealand landscapes. Two of these feature in Te Ara: ‘Central Otago‘ is part of our entry on New Zealand’s light, and ‘Mountains, Cass‘ illustrates our Mountains entry. Her watercolour of a Chatham Islands Moriori, in our entry on Ideas of Māori origin, is one of her many portraits and self-portraits. My favourite of these is Rutu, in which she depicts herself as a goddess of mixed Polynesian and European heritage.

Although she grew up in Palmerston North, she is mainly associated with the art scenes of Christchurch and Wellington. She lived for many years in a cottage in Sydney Street in Wellington, which is now used for an artists’ residency. I was lucky enough to be able to visit it once, when some friends were living there. According to them, artist Dane Mitchell was correct about the paranormal activity (he created an exhibition exploring paranormal activity in the Rita Angus Cottage and apparently interviewed her via a medium), as they believed Rita Angus’s ghost was still resident. But they told me he was wrong about which chair she liked to sit in.

One comment added so far

  1. Comment made by Matthew || December 18th, 2008

    If it’s cake and art you’re after, check out a few more examples at http://overthenet.blogspot.com/2008/12/man-cake-stalls.html.

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