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Llewelyn Mark Summers (21 July 1947 – 1 August 2019) was a sculptor based in Christchurch, New Zealand, known for his distinctive sculptures of the human form.

Llew Summers
Llewelyn Mark Summers

(1947-07-21)21 July 1947
Christchurch, New Zealand
Died1 August 2019(2019-08-01) (aged 72)
Mount Pleasant, Christchurch, New Zealand
Known forSculpture
RelativesJohn Minto (brother-in-law)[1]



Born in Christchurch on 21 July 1947, Summers was educated at Linwood High School from 1961 to 1963.[2] Of Māori descent, he affiliated to Ngāi Tahu.[2]

Summers began producing public sculptures after finishing a four-year farming apprenticeship in the early 1970,[3] and gave his first exhibition in 1971. Since then he held many one-man shows as well as exhibiting alongside other artists including: Tony Fomison, Fatu Feu’u, Michael Smither, Tom Mutch, Peter Carson, Roger Hickin, Bing Dawe, and Graham Bennett.

He believed it is the role of the artist to challenge: "if it's not challenging, then, in some way, it's not new." His interest was primarily in figurative works, and was celebratory of the human form, affirming the beauty of the human body. However, following a formative and revelatory overseas trip his use of religious symbolism developed. It was first manifest through a series of icons and shrines comprising crosses, hearts and lights. Later, it led to a preoccupation with winged forms; most often, but not exclusively, attached to bodies. These angels were an obvious melding of the human and the divine; bringing an explicitly spiritual element to his work and highlighting the important role of morality, and the spiritual dimension of human existence.

What's important to me is to get a balance between the physical and the spiritual in life. We're given a soul and we're given a body. Sculpture is a nice balance because works can be made which are deep and meaningful, but they require your physical body to produce them. Works must have soul, rather than being merely clever or smart.

Summers regularly participated in outdoor sculpture shows such as those held at the Waitakaruru Arboretum and Sculpture Park, the Auckland Botanic Gardens, NZ Sculpture Onshore, Tai Tapu Sculpture Gardens, the NewDowse Gallery, Governors Bay, and Sculpture in Central Otago (Wanaka), as his larger works are ideal for garden and other outdoor settings. His large sculptures can be seen in public spaces in New Zealand, from Kaitaia to Wanaka and many localities in between. His work is held in private collections both within New Zealand and internationally.

His sculpture of 14 Stations of the Cross installed at the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament created a controversy due to the depiction of a naked figure of Jesus at his crucifixion.[4]

Summers died at his home in the Christchurch suburb of Mount Pleasant on 1 August 2019.[5]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Deaths". The Press. 3 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b Taylor, Alister, ed. (2001). New Zealand Who's Who Aotearoa 2001. Auckland: Alister Taylor Publishers. p. 844. ISSN 1172-9813.
  3. ^ Blundell, Sally (10 April 2010). "Figuratively speaking". The Press.
  4. ^ Shiels, Rosa (26 February 2005). "Cross talk". The Press.
  5. ^ "Prolific sculptor Llew Summers 'a great man who will be mourned by many'". The Press. 2 August 2019. Retrieved 2 August 2019.

Further readingEdit

  • Light, Elizabeth. Work in Progress: behold the man. North & South, pp. 124–125, October 2007.
  • Dunn, Michael. New Zealand sculpture: a history Auckland University Press, Auckland, 2002, pp. 101–102.

External linksEdit