Tony Fomison

E ngaro ana i te Pōuri | Lost in the Dark

In the late 1960s, dark things began to emerge from Tony Fomison’s paintings. His monsters, misfits, and medical deformities challenged polite society, and explored what it means to be an outsider.

This was a particularly troubled period in Fomison’s life. He had just returned to Christchurch from travels in Europe and was broke, grappling with drug addiction, and cynical about society.

Yet the humanity of his grotesque paintings resonated profoundly with many – making him one of the most important New Zealand painters of his generation.

Tony Fomison: Lost in the Dark is a collaboration between Wellington High School students and Te Papa. Students workshopped the theme of ‘otherness’ in Fomison’s work, which helped shape our creative approach.

Malaria Victim, New Guinea, 1970, Christchurch, Tony Fomison.



Developed and Toured by the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa


Tony Fomison

Date of birth: 12 Jul 1939

Place of birth: Christchurch, New Zealand

Date of death: 07 Feb 1990

Place of death: Waitangi, New Zealand

Nationality: New Zealander