A Glimpse of India

Last night we opened our newest display space, the Heynes Gallery, which was converted from an old office next to the Octagon. This was something we’d wanted to do for a long time and was made possible by a generous bequest from Mr Leslie George Heynes. As a small gallery space, it’s ideal for showing smaller items from our collection, such as jewellery, as well as concise collections that we hold from cultures around the world.

Our opening exhibition A Glimpse of India provided an opportunity to bring our collection of Indian items out from storage. The display spreads across the new Heynes Gallery and throughout the Octagon. These objects were originally bought as tourist souvenirs by individual collectors during the time of British rule – providing a colonial view of life in India. These range from miniature paintings and figurines, through to textiles and ceramics.

To complement this exhibition, contemporary artist Tiffany Singh was invited to create an art installation in the adjacent Chambers Gallery. Tiffany collaborated with local artist, Jo Blogg, to create Indra’s Bow. This artwork focuses on the spirituality of Diwali: the Hindu festival of lights, utilising the rainbow as inspiration. Diwali signifies the victory of light over darkness, good over evil, knowledge over ignorance, and hope over despair. Glass vessels filled with spices and other materials were used to create a rainbow arc hanging from the gallery ceiling.

An intricate mandala covering the entire floor sits underneath, made up of plain and coloured rice, along with beeswax figures and forms. In creating this mandala, the pattern was first marked out on the floor and then each different colour of rice was carefully poured and laid in place. Rice is a ritual offering to the goddess Lakshmi, often associated with Diwali, and provides a strong connection to women and fertility. Indra’s Bow is a masterpiece of meticulous planning, design and execution, creating a stunning and immersive artwork.

Outside the museum another work by Tiffany, The Colours of Light, continues the rainbow motif. Celebrating the spectral colours of light, hundreds of colourful ribbons hang from wires strung across the forecourt. Tied to the ribbons are handmade bells providing gentle music as the ribbons are caught in the breeze. The bells were made in Kutch, a district of Gujarat in India, and their rich tone reflects the mastery of the maker. This component of the work reflects Tiffany’s interest in fair trade and supporting artisan communities. We’re pleased that engaging Tiffany has contributed to this worthwhile endeavour. As is the case with the permanent public artwork Pin Wall, having art on the outside of the building not only adds colour and life, but also invites the community to engage with the museum both without and within.

There’s a not-to-be-missed opportunity to hear from Tiffany today at 11am. She’ll be talking about her art practice, her interest in fair trade and social justice, along with the inspiration for the two artworks at the museum.

Together with A Glimpse of India these two art installations provide a richness of colour, scent and sound throughout the building.

Rosebuds in hanging glass vessels, forming part of Indra’s Bow

Rosebuds in hanging glass vessels, forming part of Indra’s Bow . Photographer David Frost.


Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG Hawke’s Bay

Published in Hawke’s Bay Today Saturday 29 October 2016

  • Lecturer Duncan Campbell talk on the History of China, Saturday 5 November 10:30am at MTG. Free event.
  • Guided tour of Osmanthus Gardens, Cornwall Park, Hastings, with lecturer Duncan Campbell, Saturday 5 November 2:30pm. Free event but numbers are limited – please book through MTG.
  • Saturday 5 November, FAWC! Master Class series, Tickets available through eventfinda. $10 per session

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