Celia Lashlie

Celia Lashlie by Heather Main
Celia Lashlie
Heather Main
Oil on canvas
New Zealand Portrait Gallery collection purchased from funds donated through crowdfunding platforms, Givealittle / Celia Lashlie Projects and Boosted campaign

The accompanying Celia Lashlie Sound Portrait is held in perpetuity: hearcelialashlie.audio

Cecelia Margaret Mary Lashlie (Ces or Celia) (1953-2015), described herself as storyteller, a mother and a nana.  In 1985 she became the first female officer to work in a male prison and continued her work in prisons for 15 years. Her last position was manager of Christchurch Women’s Prison. In 2004 she completed the Good Man Project. This involved talking with pupils at 25 boys’ schools. The aim was to create a working definition of what makes a good man in the 21st century.  She also worked on many projects focusing on improving the lives of at-risk children and empowering families, especially matriarchs to find their own solutions to the challenges they were facing.

Celia was a researcher, author and social commentator whose work remains in her books: The Journey to Prison: Who goes and why, He’ll Be Ok, Growing Gorgeous Boys into Good Men and The Power of Mothers: Releasing Our Children. 

Celia, “Every child is born pure and filled with their own brand of magic" “It is through working with the women that we will change the destiny of the children.”

Heather Main (ne: Saville, previously known as Busch) had her first solo show in Wellington in 1973, it included paintings and sculptures. Later she gained a Diploma in Fine Arts, majoring in sculpture from the University of Canterbury, and a Diploma of Teaching, from Wellington Teachers Training College. After a decade of solo shows in 1998, The Robert McDougall Art Gallery in Christchurch held a retrospective. Critics have described her paintings as, Pre-Raphaelite, Surreal, and Super Humanist.

In 1988 Highate/Price Milburn published children’s picture book “What is it like to be Old,” written by Pauline Cartwright which featured Heather’s pencil and watercolour illustrations. Ten years later Hazard Press published a numbered edition book, of Heather’s paintings “Within and Beyond - The Paintings of Heather Busch.” From 1990 Heather refocused her creativity into several books with Burton Silver and together they had several publications to their names the most successful in1994 being, “Why Cats Paint – A theory of feline aesthetics .”

In 1990 Heather received the New Zealand Commemoration Medal for services to the arts.

Heather has known Ces since they were judo buddies at 16. When Heather married Brian Main in 2000, here in Shed 11. Ces was her ‘Best Women.’ It is therefore of special significance to Heather that she was asked to create Celia’s posthumous portrait and that the painting it is now housed here.

Celia Lashlie Projects is a small voluntary group of Celia's family and friends, is working hard to create resources from the huge body of Celia’s written and recorded material in order to inspire and support those people working to create change for families, mothers, children and young people in this country. For more information visit celialashlie.co.nz.