Grant Lingard

Aotearoa New Zealand, b.1961, d.1995

Flag and Boots

  • 1994
  • Mixed media
  • Purchased, 1996
  • 97/11.1-5

When first made, these boots were pure white. Grant Lingard was referencing the neo-Nazis that stomped around Ōtautahi Christchurch in their white-supremacist uniform of shaved heads and Doc Marten boots. As with the Sunlight soap rugby boots across the room, his choice of material was pointed. Knight’s Castile is a delicate white soap, a brand known at the time for its tender ‘mother and baby’ advertisements – a world away from the tough image the average skinhead wanted to project. A similar collision occurs above, in the all-white flag he made from Jockey Y-fronts. Grant flew a later version from the flagpole outside Canterbury Museum and pasted up Y-front posters along Christchurch alleyways. It was a deliberately brazen public display, poking fun at the white sheets of the Ku Klux Klan while injecting an in-yourface dose of male sexuality into the sedate city streets.

(Perilous: Unheard Stories from the Collection, 6 August 2022- )

Exhibition History

earlier labels about this work
  • Flag and Boots makes playful but poignant comments about the homosexual experience within New Zealand society. Stitched together from Jockey Y-Fronts, the flag defies the enforced invisibility of gay culture. Its unrelenting whiteness is suggestive of society’s intolerance of variation. The ‘bovver-boy’ boots are made of scented white soap. Evident in Grant Lingard’s work are elements of Dadaism, in which found objects are taken from their everyday function and reassigned to a new context as a work of art. Lingard worked with Symbolism, both abstract and figurative, with a political and personal narrative. He was one of the few New Zealand artists who asserted his ‘difference’, i.e. his homosexuality, through his art practice. Lingard was born in Blackball, on the West Coast of the South Island. He studied at the University of Canterbury, graduating in 1984. He moved to Sydney in 1989. Lingard participated in solo and group exhibitions in both New Zealand and Australia until his death in Sydney.