Commissioner Series - Limited to 50

They are Us x

  • $475.00

As our high-quality canvases are shipped worldwide, our policy is to make sure we get them to our customers in mint condition. For this reason, we do not sell a framed version as the risk of damage over long distances is too high. The saving on freight-cost is passed to the customer to contribute towards the price of a local framer.

The inspiration for this commission came from my perspective as a grandparent; stunned by a senseless act of terror that took place in Christchurch in 2019, claiming the lives of 51 people of faith.

Like many families who strive to teach their children to respect diversity and to work for inclusiveness in our privileged country, I struggled to find the right words to explain to my young grandchildren that a terrorist entered New Zealand for the sole purpose of gunning down innocent people whilst they were at their most vulnerable, collected together in prayer.

It was a pre-meditated act of chilling savagery.

After the terrorist was sentenced to a life behind bars, I thought to be the right time to commission a work that reflected that moment when some degree of healing for the victims’ families and the entire country might begin.

“They are Us!” are the words spoken by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern immediately after the massacre. These words became not only symbolic to her nation but a clarion call to families all over the World that nothing is more terrible than ignorance in action with a gun in hand.

Ruby is the quintessential Kiwi girl, living in a beautiful part of New Zealand known for its breathtaking scenery. The terrorist deliberately chose New Zealand to gun down its people due to its remoteness and its peaceful co-existence with many cultures, for this would rock the World and provide him with the sick sense of notoriety he craved. His message was that no country is safe.

For a time after the tragedy, Ruby was confused. But not anymore. Things are much clearer now. She has witnessed her nations rejection of the terrorist and his dogma and returned to everyday life with her friends A’dab and Manaaki.

I think this work by Emma Butler is beautiful. It is childlike, but very grown-up at the same time. Its simplistic thoughtfulness and imagery not only draw out the ideals of a nation, but the scene also has a forgiving thread running through it, for forgiveness has been part of this awful tragedy as well.

Ruby grasps that life is an adventure in forgiveness.

In a room, people are drawn to this work of art, attracted to its stunning colours, then its conversational messages. It is especially stunning at night, with soft lighting pulling out the vibrancy and movements of Ruby and her friends.

About the artist.

Emma Butler.

Emma has been painting and illustrating professionally since 2001. She graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in the UK with a degree in Textiles. She sells original artwork through commercial galleries and her designs are published on greetings cards, stationery and prints, in both the UK and New Zealand.

Emma has also illustrated a children’s book for the Commonwealth Trust that was distributed worldwide.  The book was shortlisted for an award in the UK.

It was whilst living in NZ that Emma brought Ruby to life on canvas. Ruby is a happy and playful character, inspired by the beautiful and uplifting colours of Autumn in Arrowtown, New Zealand. Emma’s Ruby series of original artworks sit in private collections around the world.

Emma is known for using bright and bold colour. As a graduate she won the ‘Best Use of Colour’ award, sponsored by Dulux paints. She says: ‘Colour is my superpower. With it, I can pick you up and blow you away. I find that bright colour is uplifting and makes the world a joyful place.’ Emma continues to be inspired by the world around her and creates colourful artworks from her home studio.