My Wellington: a perfect city of action
Ross Giblin / Stuff
Lizzie Bisley organized the surreal art exhibition at Te Papa Tongarewa.
Lizzie Bisley is the Modern Art Curator of Te Papa Tongarewa. Bisley specializes in modern art and design, particularly between the 1920s and 1950s. She has worked extensively on European and American modernism and researched contemporary New Zealand art in the in-between. wars. She was the curator of the National Museum’s surrealist art exhibition featuring works by Salvador Dalí, René Magritte, Marcel Duchamp, Leonora Carrington and Man Ray.
What does it mean to be Wellingtonian?
My favorite definition of being a Wellingtonian is that of the poet Lauris Edmond: “It’s true that you can’t live here by chance, / You have to do and be, not just look / Or even describe. This is the city of action, / The world headquarters of the verb – ‘
I live here because …
Wellington is the perfect city. Small, compact, surrounded by sea, bush, and birds, but with a lot of things that make city life fun – great galleries, great food, interesting people coming and going.
Where is the best place to swim?
I love swimming in Worser Bay, watching the Cook Strait and the rongorongos.
Where is your favorite place to admire art?
My greatest pleasure at the moment is being able to spend time with the amazing works of Te Papa Surrealist art exposure. It’s amazing to have such a fantastic collection in town. I keep pinching myself. Wellington is full of fantastic galleries. I still love the exhibitions at Dowse and the Adam Art Gallery. I look forward to the Hilma af Klint exhibition which opens at the City Gallery in December.
What’s the best festival in town?
Tough choice, but my favorite is probably the film festival. In the dead of winter, it’s total bliss to spend the weekend at the movies – with noodle breaks between movies.
What’s your perfect evening in Wellington?
Right now my ideal night is to eat and drink at Mason’s in Newtown, then walk home.
The perfect Saturday morning in the city is …
A beautiful sunny morning, cycling along Oriental Parade and around the bays of the Miramar Peninsula. Once at Worser Bay, I cross the hill for a pasta lunch at Buon Gusto in Miramar.
My guilty pleasure in town is going to …
Duck Island on Cuba Street for a giant ice cream.
What part of the city are you most comfortable in?
I love the Botanical Garden, which changes so much throughout the year. Right now, the magnolias near the Soundshell are about to burst. I also love Australian Gardens, which seem to be full of kākā every time I walk through them.
Not many people know this about Wellington but …
Eagle rays love to bask in the sun by the boathouses at Port Nicholson. If you walk past the sheds at high tide, you can often see them floating in the water above the causeways.
What is Wellington’s best feature?
Its hills – perfect for rock climbing, stunning views from the top and a good way to protect yourself from the wind and sun.
What is your greatest hope for this city?
Hopefully Wellington becomes a more affordable city – that more people can afford to live downtown, in better quality housing (and with a lot more social housing).