Lifting the lid on new exhibitions

He Waka Tuia Art + Museum curator David Dudfield and co-manager Sarah Brown are about to reveal some behind-the-scenes secrets.

SO, what’s happening at Invercargill’s art gallery and Southland museum are common questions when people first enter He Waka Tuia transitional Art + Museum.

Curator David Dudfield and co-manager Sarah Brown said that was often the first question visitors asked.

A joint initiative between the Invercargill Public Art Gallery and the Southland Museum & Art Gallery (SMAG), He Waka Tuia was created so Southlanders and visitors could access the collections, experience local history and stories, and appreciate a variety of cultural endeavours, delivered in new ways.

Dudfield said the plan was to change the gallery’s exhibitions throughout the year, so when the current exhibitions by artists Michele Beevors and Tom Fox TRADDED: Anatomy Lessons and Altered Neuro States, respectively, finished at the end of the month, Crate Expectationswould be revealed in the first week of March.

“Every month or two, we hope to have something new, something fresh and interesting for people to engage with.”

The current displays, including the thousands of titi (muttonbirds) would be deconstructed, so the whole gallery could be used for March’s exhibition, Dudfield said.

“The titi [which visitors had written messages on and been installed as a flying flock] will become a collection item, a type of time capsule… and we may bring out the whole flock [of thousands] at another time,” Brown said.

For Crate Expectations, skeletal crates, which would give viewers a glimpse of objects, as well as packing cradles, solid, long, oblong and square crates would be on display to show how artworks and precious taonga (treasures) had been protected and stored during the move from Anderson Park Art Gallery and SMAG during the transition, they said.

“There will be things which have never been on display before… we will be showing the way they are packed, no-one would have seen them this way,” Dudfield said.

It was hoped the behind-the-scenes exhibition would answer commonly asked questions, such as how were objects conserved.

Dudfield said they were hoping the exhibition would give people an understanding why it took so long to pack the objects and what was involved with caring for the taonga.

“Part of the story will also be what happens if the items were not conserved properly, such as light exposure, temperature fluctuation, fire or water damage,” Brown said.

As well as art conservation, the complexities of shifting the collection [from Anderson Park to the Invercargill City Council Public Library Archives] and cataloguing it would be on show.

“We will be showcasing some of our packed items, how they look,” to help people understand how complex the moves have been, Brown said.

  • Crate Expectations, He Waka Tuia Art + Museum, Friday, March 5, opening.