Lyttelton Redux turns port town locals into significant parts of their own history
Lyttelton Sergeant Dave Knowles thinks becoming famous politician and port town sheriff Henry Tancred is "fantastic".
The police officer was one of more than 20 aptly-selected Lyttelton locals to become a living canvas for an upcoming exhibition celebrating the town's history.
"It's great to have history – and Lyttelton obviously has a vast history – be brought into this century. It's a great thing," Knowles said.
Artist Julia Holden is behind each piece in Lyttelton Redux, launching on Tuesday night with a tour of the important locations behind the people depicted.
Using non-toxic acrylic house paint, Holden has spent much of her time since March slathering locals to recreate modern versions of old photographs or paintings.
Once made-over, they would pose the same way their historic counterpart did many years earlier, so Holden could take a new photo.
The project started as 12 portraits commissioned with grants of $2200 from the Lyttelton Community Board and $7500 from Creative New Zealand.
As work began, the project developed further, leaving Holden with an increasing workload and "feeling a little bit brain-fried" by the time it was completed.
"There are so many interesting characters and interesting people in Lyttelton that, of course, [the original] number grew to a potential 27 portraits."
She had completed 23 so far and was holding spots for other hopefuls to include in the series, she said.
Models were "matched up" with their counterpart as closely as could be, with one resident becoming his own grandfather for the exhibition, Holden said.
Knowles, as Tancred, would have locked up Lyttelton folk-punk group The Eastern's Adam McGrath, who stepped forward to be portrayed as notorious outlaw James McKenzie.
McKenzie became known for stealing 1000 sheep at the time Tancred was sheriff and commissioner of police in 1855.
The exhibition will be launched at 5pm on Tuesday at 50 Works Gallery, Lyttelton, where maps will be given out before the tour begins.
- The Press