Ans Westra (1936-2023) born in Leiden, Holland, completed a Diploma in Textile Arts at Industrieschool voor Meisjes, Rotterdam. She came to New Zealand in 1957. Ans became a full-time photographer in the early ’60s. In 2004, ‘Handboek: Ans Westra Photographs’ (www.bwx.co.nz/answestra/) opened at the National Library Gallery with an accompanying book and film. This exhibition, curated by Luit Bieringa, toured all the major centres in New Zealand. It was shown in Leiden at the Museum voor Volkenkunde. Ans’ full chronology can be accessed from Handboek.
In recent years Ans has produced several series that she refers to as her ‘creative’ work, including ‘The Pleasure Garden’ ‘1, 11 and 111’, ‘Landscape’ and ‘Fire’. These colour photographs sit alongside her ongoing black and white documentation. In the catalogue for ‘To the Pleasure Garden’, published by FHE Galleries, Ans says “… colour in these images becomes the dominant factor, celebrating the beauty of nature.This work has been healing for my soul and a good counter-balance to my documentation of human life. ”
Vintage, black and white, portrait/documentary photographs are exhibited and stocked with Suite Gallery, Wellington. Some of Ans Westra’s large format colour works are exhibited and stocked at Bowen Galleries.