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David Matches: The Match: Portrait of NZ Rugby Players

David Matches: The Match: Portrait of NZ Rugby Players

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  • Wed 12 Oct ’11, 10:30am – 4:30pm
  • Thu 13 Oct ’11, 10:30am – 4:30pm
  • Fri 14 Oct ’11, 10:30am – 4:30pm
  • Sat 15 Oct ’11, 10:30am – 4:30pm
  • Sun 16 Oct ’11, 10:30am – 4:30pm
  • View all sessions


The Suter Art Gallery Te Aratoi o Whakatu, 208 Bridge St, Nelson


All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • Adults: $3.00
  • Children: $0.50
  • Students with ID / concession: $1.00
  • Saturday entry: $0.00

For the past six years, distinguished British photographer, David Matches, has been visiting New Zealand during the winter months to take portrait photographs of New Zealand rugby players. The subjects are drawn from every level of the game, from the small rural rugby club of Clinton in Southland through to current All Blacks.

Matches selected the most characteristic players from each game and photographed them at full time, against a white paper backdrop taped to the clubhouse, just as they have walked off the pitch and before the effects of the match evaporate. He uses an old 8 X 10 Bellows camera and takes only one photograph of each player. Details of the fixture, the player’s name, age, position and full time score accompany each picture. Players from opposing teams are also exhibited next to one another in this exhibition comprising 50 portraits.

The photographs are presented club-room style – side by side – and create an encompassing exhibition experience. Matches says “Rugby provides the opportunity for its players to express profound emotions and aspects of their identity with a kind of articulate expression often impossible in everyday life”. The exhibition not only documents the legacy of rugby in New Zealand but also pays tribute to the clubs, which are so important in encouraging the next generation of senior players.

Curator’s floortalk: Monday 19 September 6pm

Avenal McKinnon, Director of the New Zealand Portrait Gallery, discusses the David Matches national touring exhibition and how this project reflects the mandate of the New Zealand Portrait organisation.

Toured by: The New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Wellington

Image caption: 'David Matches, Shirley Flanker 44 Caps, High School Old Boys 83 V Shirley 0, 21 June 2008'. 1000 x 800 mm (detail). Courtesy of the artist and the New Zealand Portrait Gallery, Wellington.

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