Robert Piggott

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Robert, ‘Rob’, Piggott is a Contemporary Abstract painter and printmaker based in Dunedin, New Zealand.

In 1960 his family travelled from England to Australia, and then came to New Zealand in 1963. He has lived in Dunedin, N.Z. since 1965.

He began painting seriously in 1974, and has since held over 30 solo shows.

His debut solo-exhibition “Within the Earth, Wood Grows” was at the Otago Art Society in 1975.

With a multi-disciplinary approach it included daily performances of Piggott’s live-music compositions, poetry, and choreographed collaborative modern-dance pieces, alongside a full gallery of his paintings.                 

After overseas travel to Australia and Malaysia, and in order to support his wife and young family with the birth of their first child in 1980; Robert attended the Dunedin Teachers College and the University of Otago for three years from 1981, to train as a Primary School Teacher. 
From 1983 he assumed the ‘house-husband’ role in managing the daily care of their two children, whilst his wife worked.

Rob, an accomplished musician (vocals and guitar), also performed professionally in restaurants and bars as a solo-entertainer

Since completing his Teacher-training in 1984, Robert has taught widely in the education field as a Primary School Teacher, an Intermediate Art Specialist, a Secondary School Art /Graphics Teacher, and a Teacher of students with Special Needs.

He was also the Part-Time Visiting  Art Lecturer at the Dunedin College of Education from 1992-2000. 

During these years of the 1980‘s and ‘90‘s Rob’s artwork was aligned more towards ‘works on paper’, collage, and printmaking.

His solo-exhibitions beyond Dunedin were staged with:

Portfolio Gallery in Auckland 1992, Contemporary Lounge Gallery in Auckland 1998, Merilyn Savill Gallery in Wellington 1993 and 1994, Academy of Fine-Arts Gallery in Wellington in 1993 and 1996, Bealey Gallery in Christchurch in 1993andSalamander Gallery in Christchurch in 1994.

He also held a ‘private-invitation’ solo-show at GDP Architects in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in 1993.

Dunedin solo-exhibitions were at:

the Otago Museum Foyer in 1983 and 1984, Grays Studio Gallery 1996, Port Chalmers Aero-Club Gallery 1991 and 1992, The Fortune Theatre in 1998 and 1999, The Carnegie Centre Gallery 1991 and 1994, and the Dunedin Community Gallery in 1998 and 1999.

In 1993 Robert was a visiting guest-artist to the Quangzhou Academy of Fine Arts, in China.

He began a Masters degree in 1998 and started producing large works on canvas from 1999 onwards, although many series of ‘works on paper’ still continued.

The final MFA examination exhibition comprised of eight large canvases and numerous works on paper, was held in the ex-Dunedin Public Art Gallery at Logan Park, Dunedin, at the end of 1999.

He graduated with a Master of Fine Arts Degree with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) in 2000.

During that year Rob, while also facing a personal health issue, became the primary caregiver to his mother Doris at the onset of her Alzheimers Disease.Doris passed away peacefully, and with love, in November 2009.

Since 2000, Rob has continued to work as a part-time Special-Needs ‘Arts/Music/Language’ Teacher at Kaikorai Valley College in Dunedin.

In 2007 he further qualified as an Endorsed Facilitator for The Gawler Foundation after attending a training-course by Ian Gawler in Melbourne.  

Rob and his wife, Wai, then provided educational ‘Wellness’ support-courses for people in Dunedin facing the issues of Cancer, throughout the year of 2008. 

Now married for over thirty years; both he and Wai, his Chinese (Malaysian-born) wife, have two wonderful ‘grown-up’ children: a daughter who is a Primary School Teacher, and a son who is an Environmental Research Scientist.

Robert has constantly maintained his art-practice; albeit around family, and teaching commitments.  

He has exhibited constantly throughout the years; with his work shown in various galleries in Dunedin, around New Zealand, and with some further exposure in South East Asia. (Malaysia and Taiwan)

Since graduating with the MFA in 2000, 

Rob’s solo exhibitions have been in Dunedin at the:

Cleveland Living Arts Centre in 2005, Salisbury House Gallery in 2006, and Rocda Gallery in 2009 and 2010. And more recently, two large shows “SUMMERLAND”, and “LOOP SERIES”, at the Dunedin Community Gallery in early 2012.

He was selected to be the ‘Artist in the Terminal’ at Dunedin International Airport in Feb/March 2011, with his proposal “PRESENCE”, to display fifteen large canvases throughout the building, successfully approved and installed.

By invitation, his art represented New Zealand at the International Art Fair “Art Taipei 2007” with eight other NZ artists (including Philippa Blair, Philip Trustum  and Graham Bennett...etc ) 

He has since exhibited and sold his work in Taiwan.

In 2007 some of Robert’s ink paintings featured in the introduction of a movie by METIS FILMS: “Living Chinese Philosophy, (Confucianism and Daoism in 21st Century China)”

Articles on Robert’s work have been published during 2010 in the New Zealand TAKAHE  literary magazine, and the internationally distributed ASIAN ART NEWS.

His varied series of works may at times link with themes such as: 

Land and Place, MemoryPersonal Identity, Philosophy, Music and Spirituality, as well as the interweaving of his Asian, English/European and New Zealand cultural-connections.

However, it is Rob’s philosophy that his abstract paintings are intentionally left ‘open’ to interpretation and appreciation...

The Robert Piggott Art Gallery has recently opened, with the adjacent studio & printmaking workshop at the rear.

It is located at 8 Jetty St, in central Dunedin’s up-and-coming ‘warehouse’ district, surrounded by much of the newly famous Dunedin street art. 


Gallery Hours- 

SAT/SUN: 10am - 4pm

MON/TUES: 12pm - 2pm

                                             ...arrange a visit, come and see for yourself!








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