Kingsley Baird

Kingsley Baird

Professor of Fine Arts, Whiti o Rehua School of Art

Professor Kingsley Baird is a visual artist and writer whose research platform is the investigation of memory, memorialisation, and remembrance; primarily in relation to war, national identity, mythology, and place.

His sustained investigation of these fields is undertaken through the design of commissioned public memorials such as the New Zealand Memorial (Canberra, Australia, 2001, with Studio of Pacific Architecture), Tomb of the Unknown Warrior (Wellington, New Zealand, 2004) and The Cloak of Peace (Japan, 2006); making artefacts that investigate new conceptual, aesthetic, and material ways of creating memory forms which are exhibited in museums internationally; and published textual outputs.

Professor Baird is the chair of two Massey University-based, international research networks, WHAM (War History Heritage Art and Memory) and The Memory Waka. His current teaching contribution includes PhD and masters supervision (See “Supervision” below).

  • Expertise

    Memory and remembrance; cross-cultural memorialisation; spirit of place; remembrance and national identity; visual and material culture; public art; commissioned public memorials and artefacts; leading or participating in international and national interdisciplinary public art and design research teams and projects; leading and contributing to international and multidisciplinary memory fora (research networks, conferences, publications).

    View Kingsley Baird's expertise directory profile.

  • Research Highlights


    (Forthcoming) Artwork

    From the uttermost ends of the earth (2018), In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper, Belgium. Invitation by In Flanders Fields Museum (IFFM) to contribute a sculpture representing the New Zealand dead and missing on the Western Front during the First World War to the international ‘Assembly’ exhibition, conceived by IFFM artist-in-residence, Val Carmen (UK). The exhibition will comprise ‘chairs’ sent from all parts of the world and will be displayed in Ieper/Ypres to mark the centenary of the end of the war in November this year. Kingsley was the IFFM’s artist-in-residence in 2007 with his ‘Diary Dagboek’ project. His 2018 project, ‘From the Uttermost Ends of the Earth’, is supported by the NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, In Flanders Fields Museum and DHL.

    (Forthcoming) Book Chapter

    Baird, K. W. (2018). “Recasting Memory: The Monument’s Complicated Legacy in New Zealand” in L. Macaluso (ed.) Monument Culture: International Perspectives on the Future of Monuments in a Changing World. Lanham, Maryland: American Association for State and Local History and Rowman & Littlefield.

    (Forthcoming) Journal Article

    Baird, K.W. (2018). “Naming rights: conflict, coexistence, and restoration in the memorial landscape of New Zealand’s capital city”. Militärgeschichtliche Zeitschrift. Berlin: De Gruyter Oldenbourg.

    (Forthcoming) Journal Article

    Baird, K.W. (2018). “Hokopanopano Ka Toi Moriori (reigniting Moriori Arts): memory work on Rēkohu (Chatham Islands)” in Memory Connection 3. Wellington and Syracuse: Massey University and Syracuse University.

    (Forthcoming) Conference Paper

    Baird, K.W. (2018). "The surface and the underworld: art, myth, history, and remembrance in New Zealand and French experience of the Great War". Le Quesnoy Centenary Conference, Théâtre des Trois Chênes, Le Quesnoy, France. University of Waikato and the Le Quesnoy City Council. 2-3 November 2018.

    Edited book

    The myriad legacies of 1917: a year of war and revolution
    The Myriad Faces of War: 1917 and its Legacy symposium ( facilitated this 2018 publication edited by representatives of the organising institutions. Editors: Maartje Abbenhuis, Neill Atkinson, Kingsley Baird, and Gail Romano, London: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-3-319-73684-6.

    Exhibition and catalogue essay

    The Anzac Pair (2017), National Army Museum Te Mata Toa, Waiouru, New Zealand
    The Anzac Pair comprised two linked manifestations of the same research investigation: (i) an exhibition, The Anzac Pair, composed of two bronze sculptures: "Gallipoli" and "Birth of a nation"; and (ii) an exhibition catalogue essay: "The Anzac Pair: an allegory of national identity". In Baird, K.W. (ed), The Anzac Pair. Waiouru, New Zealand: National Army Museum Te Mata Toa and Wellington: Massey University, pp. 6-33. Contributing authors: Dr Ian McGibbon (former General Editor [War History], Ministry for Culture and Heritage) and leading Australian military social historian, Professor Peter Stanley (UNSW Canberra), and Kingsley Baird. Foreword by Windsor Jones, Senior Curator, National Army Museum Te Mata Toa. 55 pp. ISBN 978-0-473-40998-2.

    Installation, performance, sculpture, book essay

    Stela (2014), Militärhistorisches Museum der Bundeswehr (Military History Museum), Dresden, Germany
    Stela comprised two linked manifestations of the same research investigation, an installation and essay. The installation was composed of (i) the stainless steel Cenotaph sculpture (ii) a performance of the biscuit stacking; and (iii) the biscuit ‘memorial’ comprising approximately 20,500 edible World War One soldier-shaped Anzac recipe biscuits. The essay, "Stela - Im Tod sind alle Kameraden". In G. Bauer, M. Rogg, and G. Pieken (eds), “14 – Menschen – Krieg": Essays (zur Ausstellung zum Ersten Weltkrieg)”. Dresden: Sandstein Verlag, 230-239. MHM. "Cenotaph", stainless steel cookie cutters, and various biscuits are in the MHM Collection.

    Installation and catalogue essay

    Tomb (2013), Historial de la Grande Guerre, Péronne, France
    Tomb comprised 2 linked manifestations of the same research investigation, an installation and essay. The installation, Tomb, included (i) the design of multiple cookie cutter soldier shapes; (ii) a performance of stacking the biscuits over 20 days; (iii) the biscuit ‘memorial’ in the form of Sir Edwin Lutyens’s Stone of Remembrance (c. 18,600 WWI soldier-shaped biscuits). The catalogue essay, "In memoriam: Le présent et l'absent / In memoriam: The present and the absent", pp. 23-46. In Baird, K.W. (ed.). Tomb Kingsley Baird: Artist in Residence at Historial de la Grande Guerre. Péronne, France: Historial de la Grande Guerre. French / English. 62 pages. Contributing authors: professors Jay Winter, Annette Becker, and Kingsley Baird. Foreword by Hervé François, Director, Historial de la Grande Guerre. ISBN: 978-0-473-25457-5.

    Commissioned Artwork

    Reflections (2012), Chi an Bobel Great Hall, Heartlands, Robinson's Shaft, Pool, Cornwall, United Kingdom (Kingsley Baird & Genevieve Packer)
    Commissioned Reflections artwork is a 'memorial' that investigates presence and absence, spirit of place, and cross-cultural memory and identity in relation to people, place, diaspora, cultural preservation and connections (specifically between Cornwall and NZ). After developing the original concept and fundamental design, I invited NZ textile designer, Genevieve Packer, to be co-designer in the detailed resolution of this interdisciplinary (art/craft) work. The work also includes UK craft contributions that reflect local culture.

  • Qualifications

    Certificate of Tertiary Teaching (Wellington Polytechnic)
    Diploma of Art (Victoria University of Wellington)
    MFA (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology)

  • Professional Affiliations

    Professional Affiliations (Institutional)

    WHAM (War History Heritage Art and Memory) Research Network, Chair

    • Auckland War Memorial Museum Tamaki Paenga Hira, (NZ)
    • Historial de la Grande Guerre (France)
    • Imperial War Museum, London (UK)
    • In Flanders Fields Museum (Belgium)
    • Militärhistorisches Museum (Germany)
    • Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (NZ)
    • National Army Museum Te Mata Toa (NZ)
    • National World War I Museum (US)

    The Memory Waka Research Group, Chair

    • Syracuse University (USA)
    • York St John University (UK)
  • Supervision

    Current Supervision

    Current PhD students:

    Primary supervisor. Liang Cui, “Living with the Unassimilable: An Investigation of Personal Sexual Identity against a Backdrop of Gender Construction in Modern China”.

    Primary supervisor. Jess Richards, “Here and Elsewhere”.

    Primary supervisor. Rebecca Patrick, “The Wide Path: The Outside is not Outside. Explorations of a Multiplicitous Landscape”.

    Secondary supervisor. David Guerin, “Re-shaping a First World War Narrative. A sculptural investigation inspired by the letters and diaries of one New Zealand soldier”.

    Secondary supervisor. Maria O’Toole, “How loud is too loud?”

    Current Masters co-supervisions:

    MFA, MU. Monique Sharples. “Trace: Perceptive Memory”.

    MFA, MU. Katy Cottrell. “Revaluing melamine waste through functional propaganda”.

    Previous Masters (co-supervisions):

    MFA, Massey University (MU). Connah Podmore, "Translating the Unknown: A representation of uncertain stories". Completion 2013. Distinction.

    MFA, MU. Angela Kilford, "Walk With Me: A performative investigation researching contested memories at New Zealand’s national site for remembrance, Puke Ahu". 2015. MFA, MU. Kalya Ward, "Avon. Avon". 2014.

    Prim. super, MPhil (Visual and Material Culture), MU. Wanda Lepionka-Strong, "Cultivating Continuity and Change: The Domestic Garden Tradition of the Italian Community in Island Bay, Wellington, New Zealand". 2014.

    MFA, MU. Anja Kutsch. "Substance and semblance and the ousted owner". 2015.

    MFA, MU. Daniel Rose. “The Essential is in the Incidental: A Re-mediation of Urban Experience”. 2017.

    Mark Steelsmith, “Ghosting About”. 2018.