Wednesday, July 29, 2009
A couple of days ago I followed the wonderful trail of whitebait photos from “White Baiters Never Lie,” which I featured here yesterday (below), all along Worcester Boulevard to the very last one outside the Robert McDougall Gallery, Canterbury Museum. Since I was there, it seemed an opportune moment to venture inside and check out another Christchurch Arts Festival exhibition, “Snare/Mahanga.” The show brings together the work of a small group of artists who were allowed ‘behind the scenes’ at Canterbury Museum, to get their inspiration from the museum’s ornithological collection. The resulting works are incredibly diverse but all touch upon the sensitive issues of conservation and extinction and feature already-extinct and rare birds like the kakapo, the beautiful huia and the Haast eagle. I didn’t have time to give the show just attention so I’ll be going back for another visit, but I did love Peter Maddon’s “Waka Huia,” which includes five beautiful taxidermied huia from the museum’s collection, complete with little labels tied around their claws; and Fiona Pardington’s delicious, velvety handprinted photograph, as shown in the image in the photographed catalogue below, is one I’m still thinking about two days later.
The painting shown on the catalogue cover is a detail from Geoff Dixon’s “Black/White (Old World/New World). Co-presented by festival sponsors, Te Runanga a Ngai Tahu, the exhibition also includes beautiful works by Maori artists including delicate silver and feather jewellery by Areta Wilkinson; wood carving by Caine Tauwhare, woven birds by Reihana Parata, painted rocks by Te Mairiki Williams and an exquisitely woven kit by Ranui Ngarimu to name a few. www.ngaitahu.iwi.nz http://www.canterburymuseum.com/ http://www.artsfestival.co.nz