Ricky Dasler has been reunited with a piece of art he painted more than 40 years ago. Photo: Sara Hollyman.

Reunited with artwork after 40 years


A local man has been reunited with a work of art he painted more than 40 years ago and had not seen since.

Ricky Dasler was just 17-years-old when he first reached for paints instead of his usual go-to of drawing pencils as a sixth form student at Middleton Grange School is Christchurch.

The year was 1979 and Ricky had been tasked with the creation as part of his art class practical following the year’s study on Greek architecture and in particular the Parthenon.

It would be one of only two paintings created by Ricky in his life, both during that same year.

“I’d always done art as a kid, usually pencil sketching, I’d spend hours and hours drawing.”

After leaving Marlborough in favour of living with his older sister in Christchurch, he attended the school for the final three years of his high school education and credits his “inspirational” art teacher for fostering his skillset.

“The teacher was just amazing, to the point he gave us the keys to the art room so me and my nephew could go there in the weekends, my nephew went on to become a professional potter.”

He says he hadn’t given the painting anymore thought after that year and it wasn’t until an old school friend sent a photo of it to Ricky’s wife about eight years ago, that he realised it had been hanging in the school’s foyer ever since.

“I’m amazed it hung there all this time. Some time ago I must’ve mentioned to my wife that I wouldn’t mind getting something like that back.”

So, Celia set about making it happen and two weeks ago, just a day after Ricky’s birthday while they were visiting family in Christchurch, managed to present him with his masterpiece.

“I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t really remember the size of it, I don’t know what I was thinking taking on something so big, it would cost a fortune just for the oil paints to do that now.

“My wife said maybe I should’ve gone to art school or something, I’m a jeweller by trade so I guess I did go on to do something creative.”

Ricky is humble about the quality of his painting referring to works viewed in the Christchurch Art Gallery on the same trip as “proper stuff”.

“Mine’s a wee bit all over the show, you can see it’s an amateur cos you can see there’s no real continuity with the actual style of the painting.”

He says it’s given no inspiration to picking up a paint brush again.

“I guess I think it’s not a bad effort for a kid, but it’s not the quality of the piece it’s just having something you haven’t laid eyes on all that time, it’s pretty cool to have it.”