Being volunteer week, it’s a great time to celebrate the many ways people contribute to society through unpaid work: from helping out at public institutions like ours, to assisting with sports, education, animal rescue, social services, environmental conservation, and so much more. Volunteering can be some of the most fulfilling work people do, as each person is contributing according to their own interests and talents. Their involvement is integral to building strong communities and it’s fantastic to see them recognised this week.
Here at the museum, we’re grateful for the support of our many dedicated and loyal volunteers, who help in a variety of ways both behind the scenes and in the public spaces. One of our longest-serving volunteers, Carol Delacy, works with the collection team whenever we’re putting textiles on display. Being one of the more complex items to display due to their fragility, we’re always appreciative of Carol’s skilled assistance.
Carol is also one of our volunteer hosts working in the galleries: enriching visitors’ interaction with exhibitions on display, answering any questions and assisting people during their visit. They will be out in force tomorrow during our Open Day, when entry to the museum will be free to all from 10am. We’re offering a series of floor talks, activities, and will be live-streaming the Kaumatua Kapa Haka event taking place in Wellington. There’s always a wonderful atmosphere when the museum is full of people, which makes being here especially enjoyable for our volunteers, as well as the staff members who come along. Tomorrow we’ll have several team leaders and a curator present, so if you’d like to speak to any of us about what you want to see at the museum, do come along and find us – or speak with our ever-friendly volunteer hosts and Customer Service team.
A major drawcard this Open Day is our latest exhibition, ‘Freedom & Structure: Cubism and New Zealand Art 1930-1960.’ This exhibition is on tour from Auckland Art Gallery, and features an array of stunning paintings by some of the most pre-eminent artists in our nation’s European art history. The story begins with John Weeks, who studied painting in France and brought back radical ideas that were developing there to New Zealand. He shared them with Louise Henderson, among others, who took the baton and developed her own cubist style that was by turns bold and refined.
Henderson in turn influenced New Zealand’s most famous artist, Colin McCahon, and the work of these two artists forms the main focus of the exhibition. There’s a generous number of their exemplary cubist works, and taken as whole, the exhibition presents the surprising range that this style had within New Zealand. There are scenes of Titirangi kauri bush, nude figures bathing, still-life compositions, a foundry with a pot of luminous molten metal, and more: all painted in the distinctive geometric style of cubism. I hope you can come and enjoy the show this weekend, or at some point before its closing date of 12th November.
Laura Vodanovich – Director, MTG Hawke’s Bay
Published in Hawke’s Bay Today Saturday 24 June 2017