Beauty of health : Cora Wilding and the Sunlight League.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
This thesis situates Cora Wilding and the Sunlight League of New Zealand within a contextual matrix of influences, including the ideology of aesthetics; the New Zealand art scene; burgeoning New Zealand nationalism, Imperialist colonial identity; 'first wave feminism' , and the Health Camp Movement. In so doing it attempts to create a construction of identities for both the Sunlight League and Cora Wilding which leaves their agency intact. Rather than viewing these historical subjects as manifestations of a Eugenics Movement in New Zealand, as other works have done, this work goes deeper into the relevant historical contexts to show the work of both Cora and the League to be representative of a much wider hybridity of influences. The Sunlight League, while being portrayed as a Christchurch health organisation, is also understood in this work to have been a loosely bound feminist body that ran health camps which engaged not only in the New Zealand Health Camp Movement, but also in identity construction for young girls. Similarly the ultimate interpretation offered of Cora Wilding reflects multiple contextual influences, in that she is presented as an aesthete and an artist, a health activist and a feminist.