Fomison, c. 1978
12 July 1939|
|Died||7 February 1990
Tony Fomison (12 July 1939 – 7 February 1990) was a notable artist in New Zealand. He was an important post-war visual artist in the country and  influenced New Zealand art by incorporating elements of narrative and myth into contemporary art.
Fomison was born in Christchurch. He studied sculpture at Canterbury Art School, where he was taught by Rudi Gopas, and during these early years he continued an interest in archaeology which had begun in high school. He also compiled photographic essays during this period. Fomison began painting in earnest in 1960-61. In 1964, he travelled to England and Spain and lived in the former for three years before returning to Christchurch in 1967. During his time in England, he was hospitalised at Banstead Hospital after succumbing to drug addiction.
Connections with Polynesian Culture
Fomison moved to Auckland, the largest Polynesian city in the world, in 1973. From that time, his work was influenced by Polynesian culture, including attempts to help revive the skill of traditional Tā moko tattooing. At around this time he met fellow artist Colin McCahon, with whom he struck up a long close friendship.
In 1985 Fomison was the inaugural recipient of the Rita Angus Residency. Media reports from the time state that he intended to spend his time in Wellington on the residency developing his contacts with the local Samoan community.
- Brownson, Ron. "Likeness and Character" (PDF). Auckland Art Gallery, Toi o Tamaki.
- Ross, James. "A Singular Vision: The Paintings of Tony Fomison". Art New Zealand.
- Wendt, Albert. "Tatauing the Post-Colonial Body". NZEPC. Originally published in Span 42-43 (April–October 1996): 15-29.
- Wedde, Ian (2005). Making Ends Meet: essays and talks, 1992-2004. Wellington: Victoria University Press. p. 57. ISBN 0864735030.
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