Our Vignettes

A series of vignettes made for the museum by Andrew!

Two Punk Girls Kissing

A modern statue of two punk girls kissing.

By Wendy Tuck

This ceramic piece by Wendy Tuck can be seen as representative of the concept that lesbians are everywhere.  They can be old, young, conservative, modern and even punk as this work indicates.  In the halls of our art and museum institutions there are very few images that suggest love between two women and even less of two young modern girls. This work gives us a strong image and suggests a kiss that is beyond the school-girl crush. The texture is rough alluding to a rough coming out passage that is often the case as each young woman makes a lonely journey to her self identity and self acceptance.  This work reassures young women that it is okay to love another woman. The sculpture reminds us that it is all about love and happiness.

Gertrude, Alice, and Me

A Painting with other images of Gertrude, Alice and Beth.

By Beth Hudson

This is an oil painting by Beth Hudson.

Here the artist positions her self portrait between Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, two lesbians who lived in Paris in the twenties.  The artist did not experience an easy coming out journey, through her time in early life spent as a nun.  If any nun began to form a “close friendship” with another, they were sent to separate convents and contact was forbidden. There was very little literature available for any sense of self to develop.

Yet in the 1920’s Gertrude Stein, Modernist writer and art collector, and her long-term companion Alice B Toklas, writer and cook (called “wife” by Gertrude), lived openly lesbian lives in Paris. During the war, they lived in Culoz , South East France. They lived together from 1903 until Stein’s death in Paris in 1946. 

Gertrude Stein was the first writer to write the word “gay” (1923). She wrote,  “They were regular in being gay, they learned little things that are things in being gay, they were gay everyday, they were regular, they were gay for the same length of time everyday, they were gay, they were quite regularly gay.”

Thus the painting is a portrait of mentors the artist did not have when she needed them.  The herstories in the Charlotte Museum go some way to providing mentors to young women who love women and begin to identify as gay, lesbian or queer.

Glass Art

Two glass pieces from a feminist perspective.

By Kharen Hope

Kharen Hope made these two glass pieces from a feminist perspective.

One is about her grandmother, Betty  who wanted to be a doctor so she married a doctor instead. This emphasizes the difficulties women experiences in getting into medical school in the early 1900’s. 

The second vase is very sensual. When it was for sale in the Waikato Museum Shop in the early nineties, a lesbian saw it and could not bear the thought of a man buying it so bought it herself, later gifting it to Charlotte. 

The artist Kharen Hope made these at the Whanganui art school when she extended her flat glass making to hot blown glass making.  

In addition we have a glass breast as part of the publicity about breast cancer. Research in 1998 revealed that lesbians delayed going to the doctor more than straight women and even men which increases the chances of breast cancer becoming more advanced for lesbians. No matter how out a lesbians is, when feeling unwell she may have less confidence and delay going to places where she is known as a lesbian. Now in the 21st century we hope lesbians may feel more comfortable even when they are ill.


Ceramic piece.

By Jean Kahui

It is Papatuanuku and Hinemoana: Papatuanuku the land / mother earth and Hinemoa the ocean goddess.

 Jean Kahui  feels of their relationship was inspired by the view  from her studio in Waikanae.  Some mythology suggests  their relationship to be  based in jealousy, with  Hinemoana  crashing and clawing away at Papa hence the sea eroding the land.  

Jean understands their relationship to be more as lovers. And while wild and stormy times have there seasons and create great emotion and energy, the quiet times of gently coming and going, giving and taking, are also full of strength and magic. To many this work shows the intimacy of two women lying together. They may be having an intimate moment or could be making love suggesting  tribadism, the rubbing of two bodies together to orgasm.

For the literary it evokes the passage from Gertrude Stein’s Lifting Belly 

“Lifting Belly with me

You inquire.

What you do then.


Thank you so much.

And lend a hand. What is lifting belly now.

My baby.

Always sincerely.

Lifting belly tenderly.”

Lesbian or other, we all need to treat Papatunuku, the earth, gently and tenderly.