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Fane Flaws’ work honoured in exhibition

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Making a Mark: The Work of Fane Flaws.


Iconic artist Fane Flaws died in 2021, leaving a legacy of prodigious artistic output and a bevy of bereft fans.

Flaws’ work will be honoured through an exhibition, Making a Mark: The Work of Fane Flaws, opening on 11 March at MTG Hawkes Bay, Tai Ahuriri.

The show focuses on performance and design aspects of Flaws’ work while many people in Hawke’s Bay know him as a painter.

The exhibition is about Fane’s life as a director, musician and designer as it was in these areas that he invented and innovated. It was also here that Fane made a mark, wrote himself into Aotearoa’s history books and was celebrated with countless awards and acknowledgements.

Flaws was a nationally recognised creative who grew up in Wellington but made a connection to the infamous BLERTA (Bruno Lawrence’s Electric Revelation and Travelling Apparition) crew based in Waimārama.  It was also here in Hawke’s Bay that Flaws spent the last years of his life.

“There’s a huge community of family, friends and fans of Fane’s here in Hawke’s Bay who will say that he made this place his, that he was truly at home here and so for that reason, we can rightly say that he was one of ours.”

Flaws’ experience with the touring musical, theatrical troupe BLERTA was a major influence on his life. Bluffing his way onto the bus with a magic act for kids and armed with Fender guitar (which he was barely able to tune) and a couple of songs he had written, Flaws spent the next five years with BLERTA, becoming their most prolific songwriter.

Fired from BLERTA in 1975, Fane settled down to regroup and it wasn’t long before he was involved musically again, moving to Wellington he started up the band Hot Club de Chez Paree the first of many musical collaborations.

Fane’s eclectic taste in music played out in his career which spanned theatrical revue type shows of BLERTA and SPATS, classic pop of the CROCODILES, the bizarre jazz-pop of I AM JOE’S MUSIC and the funk of NO ENGINE and THE BEND.

Over the next forty years Fane continued to produce music, making his living as a book illustrator, album designer, music video and television commercial director and painter, each medium a rich source of visual inspiration for his wider body of work.

What emerged over his career was an intersection of characters, stories and ideas.  A non-conforming, wildly eccentric world fuelled by imagination and nonsense. MTG’s Making a Mark retrospective will pay homage to that genius and show just some of his tremendous output.

The show celebrates Flaws’ absolute commitment to creativity that lifts us out of the humdrum and recognises that whatever he was making, be it television commercials, kids’ books or music videos – his work radiated a spirit that was much bigger than any of it.”

Making a Mark: The work of Fane Flaws has been prepared with support of the Flaws family and opens 11 March 2023. The exhibition runs through until 10 September 2023.

Published in the Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper 28 January 2023 and written by Toni MacKinnon, Curator Fine Arts at MTG Hawke’s Bay.

Image: Fane Flaws. Photo courtesy of Flaws Family.

30 January 2023

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