Paul and Fran Dibble
“Palmerston North is a city that values education, which is important to us. It’s also easy to travel between home and work and is a great place to raise a family.“
Paul Dibble is one of New Zealand’s leading sculptors, his most famous work being Southern Stand: New Zealand Memorial, 2006 at Hyde Park Corner in London. His sculptures are also a stunning feature of Palmerston North City.
After growing up on a farm near Waitakaruru, Paul studied at the Elam School of Arts. He first worked in creating artworks for churches alongside his ex-tutor Colin McCahon, then taught art in secondary schools for several years.
Paul moved to Palmerston North in 1976 to take up a position at Massey University. He became a full-time artist in 1988.
The natural environment, particularly the huia, inspires much of Paul’s work. The huia was last seen in the nearby Tararua Ranges in 1907 and Paul’s connection to the region influences his work.
With artworks ranging from small-scale pieces greatly in demand by collectors, to monumental outdoor installations, Paul’s work has been exhibited throughout New Zealand and the world.
Paul was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004, an Honorary Doctorate from Massey in 2007 and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Universal College of Learning (UCOL) in 2012.
Fran Dibble is an acclaimed artist in her own right and has exhibited throughout New Zealand, with her works featuring in private collections here and internationally.
Fran holds a B.Sc. in Biochemistry and Botany, a M.Sc. (Hons) in Biochemistry and a BA in Philosophy. Her interest in these disciplines informs her artistic practice, encompassing both painting and bronze casting. Fran draws inspiration from the natural environment, as well as shapes observed under a microscope, and scientific theories such as principles of gravity and the diffusion of particles.
Fran received the Queen’s Service Medal for services to the art in 2007 and was made an Honorary Fellow of the Universal College of Learning (UCOL), Palmerston North in 2012.
Born in the U.S.A, Fran immigrated to Palmerston North with her family as a teenager, completing her secondary and tertiary education in the city.
Having worked for both Massey University and UCOL in the biochemistry area, Fran now works full time with Paul at the foundry, pursuing her own art and in a variety of other roles.
Paul and Fran Dibble are definitely two of Manawatu’s Creative Giants.