The Life and Work of Ans Westra

Saturday 24 July 2021, 8pm
Eastern Southland Gallery
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Actor and director Martine Baanvinger, who wrote and starred in the award-winning play ‘Solitude’, returns in this creative and innovative one-woman play about Ans Westra, a NZ Arts Foundation Icon photographer.


In 1957, Ans Westra emigrated from the Netherlands to New Zealand and began to take photos of her new homeland.  Fascinated by Maori culture in particular, she created an intimate and uniquely historical documentation of Maori life which led to a successful career capturing the essence of the people of Aotearoa. 

DramaLAB’s visually stunning and intimate portrait focuses on Westra’s childhood in The Netherlands, her immigration journey to New Zealand and the start of her photography career in the 1960’s.  Her first publications, including the controversial ‘Washday at the pa’, offered insight into the Maori way of life in rural Aotearoa at a time of urbanisation.


Martine Baanvinger is trained at the Theatre Academy in Amsterdam.  She is the founder of DramaLAB and creates performances in a direct, transparent and intimate way.  Martine invites her audiences to enter a space of innovation and simplicity that calls in emotional involvement with the story and the actor.  The audience becomes part of the journey.  This combined with physical theatre influences leads to unique creations where both drama and comedy are often equally present.  Martine loves exploring a creative approach to lighting, sound, digital imaginary, transformation of set and costume.

“Baanvinger beautifully captures the era, the struggles, the insights and the awakening of self.  A skillful storyteller” – M Giroux

Tickets: Adult $30, Gallery Member $25, Student $10
Book at the Eastern Southland Gallery, 03 2089907,
or email artgallery@goredc.govt.nz