We would like to acknowledge the passing of Dr Ranginui Walker. He was a leading academic figure and will be remembered for his outstanding contribution to the knowledge and understanding of our nation’s history.
Last week Laura, Jess and I enjoyed attending the opening of Gregor Kregar’s exhibition ‘Lost World’ at Hastings City Art Gallery. This exhibition is the kind that immediately brings a smile, with oversized toy dinosaurs made from bronze standing on pedestals of hollow glass bricks: it’s the grown-up version of building a little lego structure and topping it with your plastic dinosaur. The playfulness continues with whole walls built out of the recycled-glass bricks, lit from within by long tubes of coloured fluorescent lights. It was great to hear from Kregar about how his four-year-old child’s current obsession with dinosaurs sparked the idea for the show.
Exhibition openings and floor-talks are a great way to participate in the arts and cultural sector – to hear from a curator or straight from the ‘horse’s mouth‘ about an artist’s work – what inspired them, how they developed the initial idea into an artwork, or maybe some of the challenges they faced. Each artist offers a unique perspective on the arts and also about contemporary society and culture. Galleries appreciate the support of their communities and a good crowd at an opening or floor-talk can really heighten the art viewing experience. Nigel Brown’s talk here at MTG next weekend will be a rare opportunity to hear the artist giving insight into the works on show from his own personal collection.
There are also plenty of great arts events happening outside gallery walls around Hawke’s Bay. Next week is the start of the Sea Walls festival, in which 25 artists from all around the country and beyond are coming to Napier to paint murals that will raise awareness about the plight of the oceans. The public will be able to watch them in the process of creating and several of the artists will speak at MTG after their murals have been finished – don’t miss the chance to hear what they are all about.
The Sea Walls murals will add to the already vibrant public art scene here. Over the last few years, there have been many new outstanding works installed, most recently local artist Philipp Meir’s ‘Flight of the Return’ in which giant stainless steel gannets fly down Paxie’s Lane. The sea-side wall of MTG features Kregar and partner Sara Hughes’ ‘Pin Wall’ and opposite the entrance is Paul Dibble’s ‘The Gold of the Kōwhai’. Social sculpture ‘Words on Walls’ throughout central Napier continues to acknowledge our cultural heritage, while Ngā Pou o Heretaunga in Hastings’ Civic Square shares stories of local marae and tīpuna (ancestors).
All of these demonstrate how art can be broadly accessible, offering the opportunity for passers-by to deliberately or incidentally encounter and interact with these public works.
Tryphena Cracknell – Curator Taonga Māori at MTG Hawke’s Bay.
Published in Hawke’s Bay Today Saturday 5 March 2016.