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Annette Isbey 1

He didn’t mind me painting…
as long as I got all the housework done first!

In this first of two episodes Cultural Icons’ Patron Denys Trussell interviews painter Annette Isbey at her studio. She speaks of having grown up in rural New Zealand as the worst of the Depression in the 1930s and the spectre of World War II unfolded around her. Full of anecdotes of war, rural life, and an early fascination with art and literature we follow Annette from the Waikato, to Hokianga to Wellington’s Stokes Valley (where her family became close friends with writer Iris Wilkinson, AKA Robyn Hyde), Auckland’s Elam school of art, through to Australia and her eventual return to the homeland. With analogies as diverse as “dentistry as landscape painting”, she describes a life full of observation, political fervour and bohemian friendships that came to define the style she is best known for. Annette suffuses her chat with memories of life during a particularly difficult era for women and doubly so for those wishing to succeed in their chosen field.

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