Restarting the arts in Riverton

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Riverton Community Arts Centre chairman Wayne Hill alongside his artwork, Terra Firma, made from recycling foam from a pizza oven, as part of the Taiao Art Exhibition which will be "restarted" at the centre in September. Photo: Janette Gellatly

IT was all up and running, then the Covid-19 lockdown shut it down.

One week into the Riverton Community Arts Centre’s last exhibition Taiao Art Exhibition, came the lockdown, then winter and the annual closure of the centre until its anticipated summer reopening in September.

Arts centre chairman Wayne Hill said the exhibition had featured about 20 artists from throughout Southland who had entered a diverse range of art works from watercolours, resin, recycled glass, stoneware clay, photography, ink on paper and fabric art to mixed media and traditional and contemporary Maori weaving.

Adding to the diversity, some of the works also had poems written by Aparima College pupils alongside.

Part of the exhibition, Hill’s upcycled work, Terra Firma, had been made from foam from a pizza oven, he said.

With an environmental theme of water and land, Hill used the two halves of a circle to demonstrate his vision of an “earthquake”, both in the physical sense and metaphorical sense of “people shifting their values on things”, he said.

Hill hoped the Taiao Art Exhibition would “conclude” late September after the centre reopened for its summer season.

The centre’s annual Preston Russell Law Art competition, which normally was held in May, also had to be cancelled due to the Covid-19 situation.

Although there had been two to three entries submitted, the competition was cancelled but would return next year, he said.

Although the exhibition had been interrupted, and the competition cancelled, there had been some positives to lockdown, Hill said.

“Over lockdown, a lot of artists have been locked at home, producing.”

He said it had been “a great opportunity to produce work” until he “ran out of stuff”.

With that in mind, Hill was considering a C19-Level 4 Exhibition for later in the year for artists to exhibit their work produced during lockdown.

Another art journey to look forward to this year was the Aparima College’s well-being walkway, which would include poetry, sculptures and photos, he said.

Being created by the pupils, with input from art centre members, Hill and poet Teoti Jardie, the well-being walkway, would be created near the Aparima River at the back of the rugby grounds, and would focus on local history, art, creativity and the environment.

Any artists who had queries about the Taiao Art Exhibitionor C19-Level 4 Exhibition, including expressions of interest, could email the centre at info@rivertonarts.nz

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