In this edition of The Weekend Name Drop, we’re back in Taumarunui to celebrate another local artist – this time one I know even better as a colleague. Meet Fraser Findlay.

Name: Fraser Findlay

Creative fields: Artist, Teacher, Stage Director, Actor

Location: Taumarunui, New Zealand

Best known for: Directing multiple stage productions at Taumarunui High School, including Grease, High School Musical, Footloose, and West Side Story; exhibiting his own work at Waikato Museum (Western Tenetsand in Taumarunui (Artificial Designs)

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Antony Millen & Fraser Findlay – “Artifical Designs” exhibition, Taumarunui 2014

My connection: I have worked with Fraser at Taumarunui High School since 2011. He and I are both Curriculum Directors. Before I joined the school, I knew Fraser as one of my children’s teachers, especially through the school’s 2010 production of Grease. He was also instrumental in my daughter’s participation in their 2013 production of High School Musical. Our curriculum areas of English and Arts have much in common and I always enjoy the depth of our conversations. In 2014, Fraser took study leave to pursue his Masters in Māori Visual Arts and I have taken an avid interest in his personal work since, attending his exhibitions in Taumarunui and promoting him on Facebook.

10819000_760037627400513_1971996707_nInspiration for this writer: Fraser is yet another one of the many talented teachers at Taumarunui High School who not only share their gifts with their students but continue to develop them outside of school hours, toiling with passion and diligence, and balancing artistic pursuits with the demands of work and family. His recent studies and presentations of art work have intrigued me and led to deeper conversations about identity, culture, and perceptions of these. Fraser has shown a significant commitment to learning Te Reo Maori and to strengthening his understanding of tikanga, and this is impacting his work as an artist and teacher. He’s very hard working and a lot of fun to be around.

9597_270_315Why you should check him out and share with others: As far his art goes, I should let the images in these photographs speak for themselves – if you ever have a chance to see a Fraser Findlay exhibition, be sure and do so. I am certain his work will draw you in and provoke thought and response. As far as his investment in our students here in Taumarunui, there is no need to wait so long to see some of what Fraser does. Next weekend, Taumarunui High School is presenting a week-long run of the musical, Beauty and the Beast. It is sure to be a fun show for people of all ages, presented to a high standard by the students and their support team, including the profound influential direction of Fraser Findlay.

Sample of work:

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Here’s Fraser, himself, having some fun with Taumarunui High School students as they advertised their Wearable Art Awards in 2009:

Find out more: fraserfindlay.comTaumarunui High School, Waikato Museum

The Weekend Name Drop is a weekly feature on this blog, promoting people I have encountered who are doing creative things.

Antony Millen is a Canadian living and writing in New Zealand. He is the author of three novels: Redeeming Brother Murrihy, Te Kauhanga and The Chain.

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