what’s cooking

July 8 – September 1 – Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery, 2 Harakeke street, Riccarton , Christchurch, NZ ph (03) 341 6276

 I am pleased to be exhibiting five of my “soul survival rocket stoves” in a  group exhibition Transience at the invitation of  the Morant Foundation  

5 x soul survival rocket stoves / Zusters 2019

Ceramics is a medium I briefly explored in the early 80’s. The high point of which was a ceramic mural I made at what is now called Studio One – Tu Toi. I was employed full time for 8 months on a work scheme by ArtStation to do this with the help of Joy Glascow. At the time I was friends with Denis O’Connor and Peter Hawkesby who were interested in The California Clay Movement and had recently returned from a trip to California checking out the likes of Peter Voulkos who had broken away from the conventional ceramics of his day. I took to abstract expressionist ceramics like a duck taking to water. I mastered the difficult art of slip casting tiles before the relief of going to painting which in those days had the grace of fitting into a pile under my bed. I recently returned to clay doing a class with Margaret Ryley and became a member of the Canterbury Potters Association.

My soul survival rocket stoves were inspired by a boy scout rocket stove made out of a large fruit tin. You light a fire underneath and the smoke comes out the triangular holes. After the quakes and throwing away most of my broken kitchen pots, I find the fragility of clay terrifying and thrilling at the same time. I like the ensuring dialogue about survival and food as what we are cooking is essential to our planets long term survival.It’s about getting in touch with a simpler way of life that has a smaller environmental footprint. We humans are monopolising most of the earth’s resources and we’ve put nature on dialysis.

The ecological crisis we face is so obvious that it becomes easy – for some, strangely or frighteningly easy – to join the dots and see that everything is interconnected. This is the ecological thought – And the more we consider it, the more our world opens up.

Timothy Morton

ceramic mural 1980, Jane Zusters, Studio One – Te Toi, Auckland

Art New Zealand….

“where the home is” my photographic portfolio included in Autumn 2019 Art New Zealand

Thanks to William Dart and Don Abbott for including a portfolio of my earthquake digital montages in the autumn edition of Art New Zealand. Thank you Jenny Harper for the text and Kate Spenser and Kathleen Gallagher for inviting me to exhibit at the Transitional Cathedral in Christchurch February 2019 along with Rua Pick and Michael Armstrong
Thank you Rua and Michelle for providing the velcro dots..
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

is there anybody home…

Lots of art stuff like teaching at the Wanaka Art School and being in a “Spiral- Heather Macpherson ” exhibition at Mokopopaki Gallery Auckland has been happening. However I have been remiss in not updating my blog for a while so here goes. Walking my dog Blaze has lead to a new body of work of river red zone photographs. The houses are gone but the street lights still come on at dusk and turn off at sunrise. This work is being featured in the latest online issue of Takahe magazine with an evocative article by Dr Andrew Paul Wood entitled “IS THERE ANYBODY HOME”


Blaze outside 544 Avonside Drive

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

we are the environment – last day 2016

My cherry tree had so much fruit this year that there was enough for the birds and me as well. Yesterday I drove past the poor Selwyn river on my way to Leeston and saw some kids trying to launch their Christmas rubber dinghy in a puddle of green water that came up to their knees.  I fantasied about flying drone cameras up our rivers so we can all see what’s happening to our water that has been over allocated. We need water in our rivers for all creatures.  Wai-ora  not  wai-mate – water for life not for death.  Maybe its time for some more artists for save our water action. Ko au te awa, ko te awa ko au – I am the river and the river is me. I photographed the Otekaieke River reduced to a bed of stones   earlier this year when I  was  on the hikoi Te Heke Ki Korotuakeka when we were retracing the footsteps of  Te Maiharoa who along with his people  was driven out of Omarama   and his village burned in 1879.

At the moment some of my environmental montages are on display at Aratoi in the NZ Pacific Studio art is a living thing.

A piece of mine is also showing in the Southland Museum and Art Gallery – Niho O the Taniwha exhibition Tamatea – art and conservation Dusky Sound . I wanted to express the reality of the unseen, hard work of the DOC Kakapo rangers contrasted with the pristine, wilderness wonderland that I was privileged to visit as an artist sponsored by DOC. My montage depicts the contents of the doc pantry on Puke Nui otherwise known as Anchor Island juxtaposed with the bush from  Luncheon Cove where 200 years ago William Leith built a house at for the first European sealing gang in Aotearoa.


I am still documenting the RED ZONE in Christchurch and the following image was a touring finalist in the 2016 Wallace Art Award  It was a place that was home. Now It is a vanished suburbia. The New Zealand Government acquired 7041properties as a result of the Christchurch Earthquakes. Its aim was that all the houses were removed and the land cleared by April 2016. As a result of the recent earthquakes at South Shore or Te Karoro Karoro whose original Maori name translates as the seagull’s voices, there have been clearances and forced removals. I have been photographing this vanishing suburban landscape that once was home to hundreds of people. Flooding, land subsidence and liquefaction destroyed many seaside homes and the government ruled that much of South Shore was unsafe to rebuild on and forced those owners whose land had been red zoned to sell to the Crown. Removal vans were replaced with demolition trucks  and then weeds. Then diggers and then graders levelling the earth and new grass being sewn. The obvious signs of the trauma of destroyed houses are now gone. The traces of habitation   remaining such as the jetties and broken fences, testify to a vanished suburban lifestyle. The NZ Historic Places trust has identified parts of the red zoned land at South shore as an area of high pre European archaeological potential. The waterfront  detritus is a  mute reminder of the vanished homes and the ongoing narrative of erasure,

tau hou hari – happy new year



Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

some 2015 highlights

Another  year is over and these have been my art highlights. Special thanks to all my wonderful friends and family for helping make this a great year.

Publishing where did you go to my lovelies and the very nice review in Art New Zealand by Don Abbott NO 156, SUMMER 2015 -16

….It is her knowing the subjects, her empathy with each of them, her belief in and commitment to the society that they collectively form that shines through and shapes the book. If you were part of that group this collection will have social resonance; if you were in Christchurch at the time you will recognise the city the book portrays; if you are politically empathetic you will cheer them on. Even if you are none of these this book is still for you. It is a book of growing up and growing wise, of social groups that form and shape lives, of the forces that bring people together and send them apart.

Being included in the Te Papa publication New Zealand Photography Collected by Athol McCredie.

Exhibiting at RM Gallery , K Rd Auckland in re reading the rainbow :

Being part of the touring show History in the taking: 40 Years of Photoforum which went to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, being in the book Photoforum at 40 by Nina Seja and having Pink nude in blue pool go to China

thank you Liz Eastman for inviting me to exhibit at Tivoli on Waiheke Island and Cushla Parekowhai for her inspiring korero and Marc Boss for his publication Was there Jane Zusters at Tivoli 2015

photos by Marc Boss at Tivoli

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

being there

My prints and photographs from the 1970s and from post – earthquake Christchurch are now showing at Tivoli  on Waiheke Island. Tivoli is a small art gallery that functions as a specialist bookstore, occasional mini-cinema and events space run by Liz Eastman, an art historian and writer who has shown artists such as  Alexis Hunter, Richard Killeen and film maker Laura Poitras.
Cushla Parekowhai launched my new book Where Did You Go To My Lovelies? Jane Zusters Revisits the 70s, which contains never before exhibited photographs of political demonstrations in Christchurch. Check this out at Liz’s website.

The  exhibition includes photographs from my three books: Where The Home Is, Unruly Memories and the new book  launched by Cushla Parekowhai at the opening of the exhibit on Saturday 1st August, 5pm: Where did you go to my lovelies? This contains photographs not exhibited before from political demonstrations in Christchurch in the 1970s. I follow four friends from those demonstration days into their 70’s daily lives and include recent photographs of them plus interviews. They are: Morrie Love (former commune dweller and Director Waitangi Tribunal 1996-2003), Allie Eagle ( lesbian mother and feminist artist), Tiffany Thornley ( feminist artist), and Dave Mitchell (activist and hippy, now activist and social worker). The exhibition  includes my  photographic montages of the aftermath of the Christchurch earthquake.

Wednesday 2 September 2015 – Saturday 5 September 2015 10:00am – 5:00pm


Where: Tivoli: art | books | film, 2/118 Ocean View Rd, Oneroa, Auckland –Website:


Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

2014 highlights

It has been another awesome year and I just want to let you know what I have been up to and wish you all the best for 2015 .

Going to the Photo forum 40th anniversary book launch, Auckland Photography festival coinciding with my solo show unruly memoirs: nature bites back at Sanderson Gallery in Herne Bay – in October I was lucky to be invited  by Dr Kay Flavell to join her in Berlin with New Pacific Studio Vallejo on location and then do a residency in Vallejo.

exhibition travels New Pacific Studio Vallejo, Residency2014

It was an action packed time with some of the highlights being :


London – Malevich at the Tate Modern – Ansel Kiefer at the Royal Academy – the Mayflower pub with Richard and Gareth – Francesca Woodman’s photography at Miro Gallery – Soviet photography at the Photographers Gallery – Jersey Boys – Wiltons Music Hall with sister Susan and niece Becky – Dennis Severs’ time capsule House at 18 Folgate Street, Spitalfields


Berlin – drinking wine with Kay in Haberlandstrasse – the Bode Musuem – Perganom Museum – the Brunnenstrasse Berlin wall memorial walk – favourite exhibition: Meschac Gaba’s Museum of Contemporary African Art – meeting Janet Verplank / Gouldner and Marina Prufer – playing my DVD on the Christchurch earthquakes of 2010-2011 in Bernhardt’s space at the Kunstforum at Beizigerstr – Kay projecting a Powerpoint show on Gisele Freund and Edith Hillinger with   theme: Women as Culture Makers – going with Kay,Janet and Marina the John Heartfield House at Waldsieversdorf – then the Brecht and Helene Weigel House in Buckow –  meeting Dr. Iris Berndt at  Käthe-Kollwitz-Museum Berlin- Warning and Temptation – The pictorial worlds of war of Käthe Kollwitz and Kata Legrady – NPS Vallejo on location checking out of Berlin Mitte base with 3 glasses of prosecco at Berlin Tegel airport – reunion with Susan and Becky

wandering to Hamburg

Instead of the Jewish Musuem

walking 5 hours

needing a pee and some kai

eating sausage in the Bode Museum

under the horse in the foyer

finding Janet and Kay


autumn slipping into winter

crows where Giselle Freund

waved to Einstein

ermordet in Auschwitz

dead in Auschwitz

flucht inder tod

flight to death

the murdered Jews

of Haberlandstrasse

there in a bar

Kay and me drinking wine


back at the Bode Museum

four times to the café

I’ve lost count of the times

I have been to the wharepaku


my neice Becky holds a blue bottle

to her eye

on the bridge outside

a small boy

drops a string line

with a boat

to the water


Kay translates

no moon

no stars

In the night

when we fled to the distance

with nothing in our hand

from Bertolt Brecht’s garden

Kay took a mushroom

I took an apple

we can all eat some

we can all die together

says Kay



NPS Vallejo / San Francisco – checking earthquake damage at Napa – meeting Alexandria Brown, the Archivist of the Napa Historical society and discussing the impact the August 25.6 earthquake -photographing Mare Island twice – visiting the Coal Shed Studios – biking with Susan to Kaiser Hospital farmers market – visiting St Vinnie’s Community Garden – the dedication of Eliseo Art Silva’s mural at Filipino Community Centre in Vallejo – Susan, Kay and I helping paint that mural – Susan and I presenting our collaborative project for love of the Mackenzie Country to the class of professor John Dotta at Napa Valley College – attending The Addams Family theater performance in Martinez – the Day of the Dead concert the Vallejo High School- starting with a sacred Navaho song, comprising hip-hop and traditional Mexican and Filipino items and the crowd cheering when a brother and sister read their gay poems – me giving  unruly memoirs; nature bites back to Denise Hunter and Judit Sawangwan for their fine arts students – the students doing work with collage, as glue and magazines are easy to come by in a poor neighborhood – visiting Janet’s ranch and seeing her horses – going to Alcatraz known to Native Americans as Diamond Island, Aliste tinanmiji –  checking out  dissident Chinese artist Ai Weiwei s installations celebrating freedom  and universalizing the abuse of human rights – an installation that he has never seen as he is not allowed to leave China and using materials that could be shipped innocuously through suspicious Chinese customs services –  sending a postcard to Chelsea Manning – posing for a homeless street artist –

Navaho blankets and pottery at the De Young Musuem – celebrating Haul-o Ween at the Obtainium Works with dinner and performance of a murder mystery in their haunted house- on- wheels – planting seeds and pulling Kay’s weeds – buying  a new compost bin for the back garden – Vallejo Farmers’ Market and a performance with Native American dance and song at the Dia de los Muertos /Day of Remembering/Day of the Dead organized by the Solano Aids Coalition in Georgia Street – lunching  at Zio Fraedo’s on the waterfront – goodbyes at the Marriott, punctuated by screams from the fun fair riders across the road…

Suburban Gutter at Artbox

Back home in Christchurch to the Opening preview  5 November of Mike Coker’s  and my exhibition Suburban Gutter. Mikes’s work  featured a 6.2 metre high work titled ‘if the earth moves’ which was created specifically for the ArtBox L-Pavilion Gallery.

In the ecological entanglement  informing  my reassembled realities I am  exploring  loss and alienation from nature. I ‘m continuing  exploring deep ecologies with a goal of illuminating humankind’s ongoing impact on the environment. My recent wrecked, relocated, collaged rooms testify to the events of the Christchurch Earthquakes, and the politics of destruction  of my old neighbourhood namely the destruction of Holy Trinity Church Avonside which was a Benjamin Mountfort hertitage listed Church knocked down in a rip, shit and bust $20,000 demo which bulldozed intact stained glass windows. 

Suburban Gutter at Artbox was a family affair too for both Mike Coker and me. My three great nephews Nico, Joshua and Luca took the photographs that were the “gutter ” while Mathew and Thomas helped their dad Mike with his painting. See the photographs below and special thanks to Martin Trusttum and Grant Bambury who helped us hang the show.

Watch this space for the work to come from my recent travels…..

I commission my portrait from a homeless street artist called Grady



Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

unruly memoirs : nature bites back

[flipgorilla flipbook=’1′]

I’m very excited, Mike Coker & I have just made a free online publication to accompany my exhibition, opening at the sanderson CONTEMPORARY ART 11 June 2014.

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

2013 art highlights

My next exhibition will be unruly memoirs:geopolitical photomontages at the Sanderson Gallery in Jervois Road, Auckland 11 june -29 june 2014.

Despite threats to bumble bees and asset sales, 2013 has been another good year for me. I have continued the body of work from the where the home is series  but have also begun photographing abandoned spaces. I would like to share  some of this year’s art  highlights and  thank Tamara Darragh from the Sanderson Gallery who encouraged me to put my work forward for this years Wallace Art Awards from which  my photomontage at home Wetlands Grove’ was acquired for the Wallace Art Collection.

I was included in Sanderson Art Gallery’s publication: The Artists: 21 Practitioners in New Zealand Contemporary Art c. 2013-2015 – Edited by Jane Apperley, Tamara Darragh & Kylie Sanderson ,Hardcover book, 140 pages | $39.95

The latest edition of The Artists: 21 Practitioners in New Zealand Contemporary Art profiles a selection of exciting artists from the gallery’s offering, with essays provided by 21 of New Zealand’s most interesting art minds – critics, curators and writers.

see Jamie Hanton’s Essay

‘I keep coming back to Jane Zusters’ work because it is art that takes the wider world as its subject. But rather than merely appraise the world, Zusters investigates and breaks down the artificial barriers between art and politics, art and society, art and life. There is no space in between: what happens in the studio has a responsibility to reflect what is going on outside of it. Zusters has been working to this end since the very beginning of her illustrious and diverse career which now stretches four decades.

During this time Zusters has worked across a range of media including drawing, photography, and painting. Her practice has never been confined to one particular process or technique; adopting this pragmatic approach has allowed Zusters to pick and choose the most effective visual and semiotic tools to convey her messages. The simplicity of her early photographic work Wet Flower (1979) and the iconic Portrait of a woman marrying herself (1977) elegantly and poignantly examine the sociology of gender and sexuality.

More recently – through both painting and photography – she has been exploring deep ecologies with a goal of illuminating humankind’s ongoing impact on the environment. In the exhibitions Bird Talk in 2008 and Return of the Moa in 2010, Zusters meshes artificial systems with natural systems resulting in an inability to separate Nature from the rest of our milieu.

In his book Ecology without Nature (2007) on art, literature, and ecocritique, US-based academic Timothy Morton stated that in effective visual art, ‘There is nothing between background and foreground. And there is nothing between frame and contents. Radical juxtaposition plays with the frame and its contents in such a way as to challenge both dualism (their absolute difference) and monism (their absolute identity).’ In the double exposure Mirage in the farmhouse, Waitaha (2008) the interior and the exterior blend together – artificial light and the boat’s reflections on the water beautifully blur the lines between presence and absence; home and away. There is no space in between to ignore your surroundings.

In Zusters’ most recent work the barriers that once divided one space from another have disintegrated due to the Christchurch earthquakes of September 4, 2010 and February 22, 2011. The framework literally disappears in the digital photographs, capturing a sense of displacement and impermanence. At Home Christchurch 2012 is a confronting juxtaposition where a peaceful snow-covered cemetery stretches from the crumbled walls of an abandoned house. There is a tangible sense of despair, but also a circularity and remembrance that things pass and will return again: the snow will melt away; the cemetery will continue to colonise the land around it and have its inhabitants disturbed by the roots of neighbouring trees; the house will be torn down and new structures built. At a fundamental level Zusters is an artist of change, and a proponent of great hope amongst this change’.

at home New Pacific Studio

I was invited to do a residency at New Pacific Art Studio and used the opportunity to make a new body of work that incorporated images from Pukaha Bird Sanctuary with the kauri interiors from the old farmhouse which is now New Pacific Art Studio.

Seasons Greetings and Happy New Year

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

art and about

Two of my wrecked, relocated, collaged rooms testifying  to the events of the recent Christchurch Earthquakes were shown at the Sanderson Gallery recently.

from the series “at home with “20×30” type c photo ,edition of 3

Down Home brought together the work of four photographers addressing narratives of home; familial interactions, household artefacts, the domestic and the suburban. Through their varied practices, Kevin Capon, Young Sun Han, PJ Paterson and Jane Zusters demonstrate how close studies of the everyday can lead to quiet revelations. In Jane Zuster’s latest series At Home in Christchurch 2012, conventional divisions are in collapse as a result of the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Structure has completely disappeared in this series of digital photographs, capturing an overwhelming sense of displacement and impermanence. Interior scenes range from the abandoned to the familiarly kitsch, each one existing within realities of tragedy, upheaval, and disaster. ‘Home’ offers no sanctuary for unseen occupants in these confronting juxtapositions, which describe the persistence of routine in the face of cataclysm. Zusters conveys ‘a tangible sense of despair, but also a circularity and remembrance that things pass and will return again …
Jamie Hanton, Director, Blue Oyster Art Project Space, Dunedin (2013) see these images by appointment


Jane Zusters photographs ‘Down Home’ at Sanderson Gallery

See more of my art in the publication:The Artists: 21 Practitioners in New Zealand Contemporary Art c. 2013-2015 – Edited by Jane Apperley, Tamara Darragh & Kylie Sanderson,Hardcover book, 140 pages | $39.95 The latest edition of The Artists: 21 Practitioners in New Zealand Contemporary Art profiles a selection of exciting artists from the gallery’s offering, with essays provided by 21 of New Zealand’s most interesting art minds – critics, curators and writers.

Check out The Artists Book Launch Exhibition coming up – Sanderson Gallery, Newmarket –  Tuesday 20th August

Phone: +64 9 520 0501          Email: info@sanderson.co.nz
Address: Osborne Lane, 2 Kent Street, Newmarket, Auckland

Open 7 days; Gallery hours; Monday-Friday 10am-6pm; Saturday-Sunday 10am-4pm

STOP PRESS : one of my photographs is a finalist in the 2013 James Wallace Art Awards  




Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged | 1 Comment

2012 art and bumble bees


Here is to the bees  and what was a good year artwise. To celebrate the end of 2012 I ‘ve made a video about bumble bees.The year started off with my Lochmara Lodge artist’s residency where I painted birds and sweated over my project Where the home is : the Christchurch Earthquakes which showed at the Forrester Gallery, Oamaru, the Aigantigne Gallery, Timaru and PaperGraphica in Christchurch. It was accompanied thanks to Mike Coker with a limited edition, high end, digital publication which is is into its second reprint of 50 and got a plug in the Listeners Take five. A few copies are still available if you have missed out so check my shop.

Another highlight was my show Seventies Silver at the Mark Hutchins Gallery in Wellington where pink nude in blue pool sold for what was a record price for a Jane Zusters photograph and the Auckland Art Gallery acquired Portrait of a woman marrying herself , my 70’s feminist image made on a $2.50 plastic Dana camera.Katy Corner in Art News Spring 2012, page 50, said the show “was a beauty, featuring vintage photographs of a quality almost impossible to match in these digital days’.

I was headhunted by Pat Deavoll of the New Zealand Alpine Society to tutor two painting workshops at the Unwin Hut, Aoraki and by way of  demo painted my first plein air landscape.It was heady stuff hanging out with those mountaineers turned landscape painters.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 4 Comments