Friday, 30 August 2019

Claudia Jarman (1908-1986)

Claudia Jarman
Image courtesy of the Jarman family
Claudia was a celebrated Art and Art History teacher. She arrived in Tauranga in 1939, and first taught at Tauranga District High School (Hillsdene), and from 1958 at Tauranga Girls College. Claudia was also involved in the Tauranga Repertory Society, and, with her husband Reg, she was a foundation member of the Tauranga Chamber of Music Society and the Tauranga Art Society.

But it was at school where I encountered her, and I still remember my first Art History lesson. We discussed a painting by Wassily Kandinsky – ‘The Battle’. Her passion for Art inspired two generations in the Bay of Plenty to practice and to appreciate art, and my siblings and I were just a few of them. She enjoyed young people and encouraged her students to express their own style and to extend it.

In discussing Claudia with my family, one said “She epitomised all that was great about that era – 1940’s-1970’s -where the emphases were more about art, music and culture. It was more about bringing together the most interesting people rather than those with money and high-status jobs”. In that era Tauranga had a strong dramatic and Arts culture.

Claudia was tiny in stature but she made a huge impression on the community. She campaigned for decades for an Art Gallery here in Tauranga and she sowed her dream seeds into the community through the pupils she taught and the people she encountered. She would be thrilled to know Tauranga now has its own Public Art Gallery.

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