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Queer Tasting Tea

on Saturday, 14 September 2013. Posted in Blog

Queer Tasting Tea

I’m thrilled that “Queer Tasting Tea” won third place (the Jill Vollmer Art Award) in the 2013 Impressions Art Awards.


It was a fabulous evening and thank you to all the sponsors who made the event possible.

“Queer Tasting Tea” is part of my most recent series “The Fall of Man”. The series title is drawn from the Book of Genesis and the casting out of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden.

In the context of this series the casting out is a reference to society turning its back on Walter Bolton (the last man hanged in New Zealand for the murder of his wife) through its judgment of him. Walter’s “fall” sees him cast from society though his execution less than a year after her death.

In the painting Beatrice Bolton is drinking a cup of tea which the Crown alleged Walter Bolton has laced with arsenic. Beatrice has been unwell for many months. In contradiction to the Crown allegations, Bolton has spent their life savings on private medical care for Beatrice in the hope of a cure.

“Queer tasting tea” is a reference to evidence given at Walter’s trial where a witness said that Beatrice had described a cup of tea made by her husband as “tasting queer”.

The series examines Bolton’s life, prosecution and execution, exposing the potential failings of a system which has members of society sit in judgment on others.

The series questions whether in pursuit of an outcome justice becomes incidental to procedure and is frustrated by the preconceptions of those charged with the responsibility of dispensing it.

You can view The Fall of Man series on my website.