Southland art showcased on world stage

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Chiaroni Gallery artist director Greg McDonald with Te Wharekura O Arowhenua kapa haka members (front left) Claudia Ramsay-Aupouri (13), Geneva Andrews (16), Indiah Pera (16), (back left) Taane Paraki (16) and Tutaawa Pewhairangi (16) at the gallery earlier this week. Photo: Petrina Wright

SOUTHLAND artist Greg McDonald’s groundbreaking digital artwork is capturing international attention.

McDonald, of Chiaroni Gallery has been invited to show his digital portrait Generation X at the Affordable Art Fair in Melbourne in September.

McDonald said the Affordable Arts Committee invited him to show his digital portrait in a special exhibit at the fair after seeing his work on Instagram.

He was one of three international artists chosen for the special exhibit who were “treading new water in terms of art work and medium”, he said.

Generation X is the world’s first digital portrait, created in collaboration with technology company Vaka Interactiv. The portrait of McDonald’s niece Claudia Ramsay-Aupouri speaks and tells the viewer about herself, her whakapapa and genealogy.

The Affordable Art Fair, at the Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne, would feature thousands of original, contemporary artworks from Australian and international galleries, and attract an audience of 15,000 to 20,000 people over the three days.

Along with his work, McDonald was taking artworks from Southland artists Chris Flavell, Deow, Cherie Te Orangaroa Downes, Ruth Crouchley, Morgan James, Tracey Tawhiao and Johnny Penisula to show at the fair.

This would be the first time a Southland artist or Southland gallery had been represented at the international art fair, he said.

It would be a huge opportunity for these artists to show their art on a world stage, and for myself as the director of the gallery to gain some international experience as a curator and hopefully secure some international representation for the artists with reputable galleries in other parts of the world, he said.

“If I can find galleries willing to give even one of these guys a shot at representation in places like Milan, New York, Asia or even Australia it will be a massive win for all Southland artists.”

Arts Murihiku arts advocate Lisa Tou-McNaughton said McDonald was to be commended on driving this initiative to have Southland art celebrated internationally.

Five members of Te Wharekura O Arowhenua kapa haka group, including Ramsay-Aupouri, would travel with McDonald to Melbourne to perform at the official opening of the fair.

McDonald said this was another first for Southland.

“[It] will give [the pupils] the experience of performing in front of thousands of people at an international art fair and open their eyes to the possibilities and opportunities for them after their time at school.”

He thanked the ILT Foundation and Community Trust South for their support.

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