Neil Dawson: Empty Kingdom

Dawson was born in Christchurch in 1948. The son of a Methodist minister, he grew up in Masterton, Petone, and Hastings and received his secondary education at Hastings Boys’ High School.
While in fourth form, Dawson climbed onto the assembly hall and painted April Fool in large white letters on the roof. This gave him front page exposure in the Hawke’s Bay Herald-Tribune and he regards this as the “beginning of [his] career in public art.”
Dawson attended the University of Canterbury (1966–1969)[2] where he studied under Russ Williams, Tom Taylor and Eric Doudney.[1] He gained a Diploma of Fine Arts (Hons) and then spent a year at teachers’ college. This was followed, with the help of a Queen Elisabeth II Arts Council grant, by a Graduate Diploma in Sculpture from the Victorian College of the Arts, Melbourne, in 1973. On his return, Dawson drove a truck for four years, and taught drawing and design at Christchurch Polytechnic from 1975 to 1983.[1]
Dawson’s sculpture is individual, unique and easy to recognise. In fact his sculptures flout convention in their lightness of feel, their transparency and their escape from the conventions of earthbound pedestal-based display.