Te Tumu Whakaata Taonga New Zealand Film Commission sadly acknowledges the passing of director Luit Bieringa (10 September 1942 - 21 June 2022).
Originally from The Netherlands, Luitjen Hendrik Bieringa spent most of his life in Aotearoa New Zealand and was a fierce champion of the arts. After graduating from Auckland University with a BA, he studied art in Italy before returning to New Zealand.
He was the director of the Manawatu Art Gallery from 1971 until 1979 when he became director of the National Art Gallery, a role he held for 20 years. A passionate supporter of photography, Luit promoted the art form through staging exhibitions at the National Art Gallery including extensive surveys of New Zealand photographers and retrospectives from artists such as Peter Black, Cindy Sherman, Barbara Kruger and Richard Misrach.
He added filmmaker to his resume in 2005, working with his wife Jan Bieringa as producer, to make the documentary Ans Westra: Private Journeys/Public Signposts. Initially produced for TVNZ’s Artsville, an extended version screened at the New Zealand International Film Festival in 2006.
Three more art-focused documentaries followed, all of which screened at the NZIFF. The Man in the Hat (2009) offers a portrait of late Wellington art dealer Peter McLeavy, The HeART of the Matter (2016) outlines the changes to the way art was taught in New Zealand schools following WWII and Signed, Theo Schoon (2021) examines the life and career of the controversial Dutch immigrant artist.
Our thoughts are with Jan and their whānau at this time.
A farewell for Luit will be held at Prefab in Wellington at 4.00pm on Monday, 27 June, to which friends and colleagues are warmly invited.