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Julia Holden



Odalisque (Audrey Baldwin, after Guerrilla Girls) Christchurch 2016

A previous career in film and television production as a storyboard and concept artist informs and influences my project-based art practice. Discrete, but related projects grow, and lead from one project into the next. During my time in Christchurch I intentionally focused on developing innovative relational painting practices employing strategies focused upon encouraging public interaction, community connection and a wider social engagement. 

I attended Elam, School of Fine Arts in 2003, gaining BFA followed by MFA from Monash University, Melbourne, in 2011. Although I am a North Islander, I moved to Christchurch post-quake in 2012. Since late 2018 I resided in Whanganui, beginning first as Artist in Residence at Tylee Cottage followed by Her Indoors, a substantial portrait project celebrating 125 years of Women’s Suffrage in New Zealand.


Shared Lines: Aotearoa in Japan 2020

High St small.jpg
RZ Home1.jpg
Blue Building.jpg

‘This is not a dream’  digital print of charcoal drawing, 2016  297 x 210 mm

Cnr Cashel and Manchester.jpg
Christchurch Cathedral.jpg
RZ Home2.jpg
Lichfield St.jpg
Cotter & Sons small.jpg
Catholic Basilica.jpg

Wish You Were Here,' postcards x 10 (2014)

Wish You Were Here was my response to the radically altered city I encountered when I moved to Christchurch from Melbourne late in 2012, two years after the devastating earthquakes that struck the city in February 2011, claiming 185 souls. Unstable and collapsed buildings were almost completely demolished and cleared, leaving a once charming English-style city a flattened, empty building site. Suburbs earmarked as beyond repair are eerily abandoned, apart from the stubborn few who refuse to leave their beloved homes, awaiting their turn for the wreckers bulldozers. The city was reaching the lowest point of transition between full demolition and potential future renewal.

10 oil on board 'portraits' of Christchurch as I found it, revealing absent buildings, absent people and in some cases, disappearing communities that were the on-going reality of the new Christchurch. 20,000 postcards, given free to the public, accompanied the public exhibition of 5 Wish You Were Here billboards.


Shared Lines: Wellington 2017 / Kaikōura 2019


The Green Stripe (Adrienne Millwood, after Henri Matisse). Christchurch, 2016. 


The Broken Column (Gaby Montejo, after Frida Kahlo) Christchurch, 2016. 

Since arriving in Christchurch in 2012 post-earthquake, Holden has directly engaged with rebuild projects. Working continuously within the portraiture genre, Holden centres her production upon outcomes that emphasise community connection and a wider social engagement. 

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