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Local Hero of Typography - Joseph Churchward

Joseph Churchward in his studio, Apia, Samoa. Photographer unknown. c. 1994.
'Churchward Samoa' 3 May – 3 August, 2014


'Churchward Samoa' 3 May – 3 August, 2014
City Gallery is pleased to announce 'Churchward Samoa', a new exhibition featuring the work of Joseph Churchward QSM (1932–2013), a local hero of typography. Churchward is remembered for his biographically and culturally themed typefaces. His designs once graced everyday items in New Zealand, including the Evening Post masthead and TV1 logo.

Churchward was born in Samoa. At the age of thirteen his grandparents sent him to live in Wellington, where he studied at Wellington Technical College. He established Churchward International Typefaces in 1969, and, by the mid 1970s, was licensing fonts to international companies. By 1979, he had completed 150 alphabets (he would eventually amass over 600). In the wake of the 1987 stockmarket crash, his company fell into receivership and in 1988, he returned to his native Samoa. Churchward’s work has appeared in a number of exhibitions in recent years.

Our exhibition considers a particular chapter in his life: his return to Samoa. There, he established a new studio, developed new typefaces, solicited new commissions and pondered the island’s curious fascination with Robert Louis Stevenson.

The show, which takes its title from a Churchward typeface, is curated by David Bennewith, a New Zealand expatriate designer and typographer based in Amsterdam. In 2009, he produced a major monograph on Churchward.

To mark the opening of 'Churchward Samoa', City Gallery is holding a talk with David Bennewith on Saturday 3 May at 2pm. This free event will be followed by light refreshments, all welcome.

'Churchward Samoa' 3 May – 3 August, 2014 City Gallery Wellington | Free Entry

Contact details: 04 801 4258 | 021 022 40312

Written by

City Gallery Wellington

14 Apr 2014

Interests City Gallery Wellington is a dynamic cultural presence in the capital city of Aotearoa New Zealand.