Decaying Bluff’s Club Hotel inspires exhibition

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THE fate of Bluff’s derelict Club Hotel has inspired a New Zealand poet and photographer to collaborate for an upcoming exhibition.

Miharo is hosting an exhibition entitled Gossamer – Poetry and Photography inspired by Bluff’s Club Hotel, showcasing Cilla McQueen’s poem Gossamer, lamenting the demise of the hotel and photographer Adrienne Martyn’s images portraying its decay.

McQueen had been the recipient of many awards and fellowships, including the Robert Burns Fellowship at Otago University in 1985 and 1986.

McQueen said the Club Hotel had a long and colourful history which still lived in the stories and memories of its patrons and Bluff inhabitants.

“It seems the Club Hotel is at the end of its useful life and I thought it would be nice to give it some acknowledgement for its long service to Bluff,” she said.

“The poem is a mediation on how we don’t appreciate history until it has gone.”

She had handprinted the poem on to six pages of large fine silk to hang in the gallery alongside Martyn’s eight large prints.

McQueen said her poem handprinted on “low tech” organic silk complemented Martyn’s “high tech” photographic images.

Martyn is a Wellington-based art photographer brought up and educated in Invercargill.

She had created a substantial body of architectural and portrait photography which was represented in several major art collections, including Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, Auckland Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery

Martyn said she had been interested in photographing the Club Hotel for several months, but it was after reading McQueen’s poem she was inspired to pursue the project.

The hotel had been compelling to photograph, she said.

“It was a feast for the eyes, with its fantastic textures, colours and forms.”

She wanted her photographs to portray there was “beauty in decay”, she said.

Gossamer – Poetry and Photography inspired by Bluff’s Club Hotel, Miharo gallery, 28 Don St, Invercargill, from February 18 to March 15, 10am to 2pm.

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