288 Cuba Street, Wellington

Small oil developed from 2 sketches attached. Built from wood in about 1906 in a New Zealand Italianate style (ie upstairs verandah without Juliet). Currently houses the Kiwi Art House Gallery with a flat upstairs, its useage history is apparently unremarkable (dammit!) according to Heritage NZ.

My artist friend in Indonesia is painting old and close to ruin Dutch buildings as an historical record. Part of my aim here too – although these are heritage protected and well documented in photographs by now, we do get earthquakes (this one should be resiliant being low and relatively flexible) plus fires of course, the San Francisco earthquake and fire also in 1906 being a case in point.

Oils and acrylic (background) on canvas 16″x16″

Postscript Jan 2019: last week’s local paper says that Carmen, a famous and fabulous transgender woman, ran a trinkets and knick-knacks shop from here in the 70s. Carmen was fun, she really enlivened dull old Wellington in the 70s more so as a cafe owner/brothelkeeper and later a mayoral candidate – per Te Papa’s website:

Carmen’s International Coffee Lounge was a flamboyant space festooned with avant-garde European art, mirrors, and tropical fish. Although homosexuality was illegal, various types of sexual liaison were available at Carmen’s. Patrons arranged their coffee cups in particular ways to indicate whether they were after a heterosexual, gay, transsexual, or drag queen encounter. Should a police raid occur, an elaborate system of doors and stairways provided discreet escape routes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmen_Rupe

Also that from 1906 the shop part sold dyed calico (not so interesting)!

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6 Comments

      1. I have seen your drawings somewhere before, so googled it and came across them again! As far as I’m aware the house has no interesting history. Once a $5 note blew on to the balcony… that is about the extent of it!

  1. Love the story of the $5.00 note and sounds like a great flash fiction prompt. You only need to come up with 100 words to polish one of those off. It’a great painting and the sketches are great. I look at it and imagine it twisting and distorting with age. One of the favourite books I used to read with the kids was the Little Crooked House by Margaret Wild, which looks nothing like it but has something of the spirit of the house: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1038833.The_Little_Crooked_House
    Best wishes,
    Rowena

    1. Oddly enough, last week’s local paper says that Carmen Rupe, a famous (fabulous!) transgender woman, ran a trinkets and knick-knacks shop from here in the 70s. Carmen was fun, she really enlivened dull old Wellington in the 70s more so as a cafe owner/brothelkeeper and later a mayoral candidate – per Te Papa’s website:
      Carmen’s International Coffee Lounge was a flamboyant space festooned with avant-garde European art, mirrors, and tropical fish. Although homosexuality was illegal, various types of sexual liaison were available at Carmen’s. Patrons arranged their coffee cups in particular ways to indicate whether they were after a heterosexual, gay, transsexual, or drag queen encounter. Should a police raid occur, an elaborate system of doors and stairways provided discreet escape routes.
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carmen_Rupe
      Also that from 1906 the shop part sold dyed calico (not so interesting)!
      Carmen spent her last years in a small flat in Surry Hills, seemed a bit sad to us here but perhaps she wanted the Sydney life/anonymity
      Looks like a great book, lots of action!

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