Exhibition celebrates fellowship

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Creative New Zealand representative and former Southland Museum & Art Gallery art gallery manager Wayne Marriott with former William Hodges fellows (from left) Janet de Wagt, Cilla McQueen, Jo Ogier, Robyn Belton and Jo Torr at the opening of ... as others see usat the Invercargill Public Art Gallery.

AN exhibition celebrating 18 years of the Southland Art Foundation’s William Hodges Fellowship is on now at the Invercargill Public Art Gallery.

… as others see us features an eclectic array of artwork by former participants in the artist-in-residence programme and includes a variety of mediums including photography, textiles, painting and sculpture.

Foundation chairwoman Joan Kiernan said the fellowship immersed artists in the Southland community and part of their legacy was to also donate a work to the Southland Art Foundation collection.

“It has brought some amazing artists to Southland and given us a beautiful collection of artworks that they’ve left us.”

… as others see us was not only a way to celebrate the fellowship, but was an opportunity to share the works donated to the foundation with the public, she said.

“[We] want to have the collection seen by as many people as possible, as often as possible.”

The fellowship was initiated in 1996 and was renamed the William Hodges Fellowship in 1999. It has been a partnership between the Southland Art Foundation, Southland Museum & Art Gallery and Southern Institute of Technology, with previous financial support from the Community Trust of Southland.

However, the programme was currently on hold because of financial restrictions, Kiernan said.

“At the moment the programme is in abeyance because we need to restart the funding.”

The goal was to get it up and running again by the end of next year, and to find a way to make the programme sustainable so it could continue to bring New Zealand visual artists to Southland, she said.

Former Southland Museum & Art Gallery art gallery manager Wayne Marriott was involved in establishing the fellowship, and returned to Invercargill to attend the exhibition’s opening on behalf of Creative New Zealand.

Marriott said the origins of the programme centred around the former Trust Bank and the Southland Museum & Art Gallery.

Those involved in its establishment wanted to provide an opportunity for artists, regardless of age, to work for a period of time financially unencumbered, he said.

“We wanted artists who would come in, who would respond to the environment, work with the community, become part of the community, and actually do something that was completely unique – and they weren’t to be just based in Invercargill.”

He said he hoped the foundation would find a way to ensure the fellowship’s place in Southland’s future.

“I think it’s possible because you’ve got an extremely generous community here and they always have been generous,” Marriott said.

The exhibition is on until Saturday, October 7.

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