Channel - Art to warm the heart this winter

Wrapping up warm and taking a stroll around Northcote Shopping Centre in the early evening is well worth the effort: At the Northern end of town you will come across Northart’s window displays and a stunning exhibition of sculptural works and drawings by the late Logan Brewer [1945 – 2015]. They will be in place until 19 June when they will be replaced by paintings and other works by gallery artists. 

Visit during the day and you can take in ‘roinn’ a series of works by eight mid-career women artists, seven of them Auckland-based, the other from Nelson. The show is a rather eclectic mix of works, loosely falling into the theme ‘roinn’ (Scottish Gaelic for share).

In the other gallery space, and opening on Monday 10 June, is ‘X-marks. Conversations in Cloth’. On loan from Te Kōngahu Museum of Waitangi, the exhibition explores the relationships established between the early missionary and settler wives and Maori women living in the Bay of Islands in the early 1800s, through the medium of textiles. Vivien Caughley, Makareta Jahnke, Maureen Lander, Toi Te Rito Maihi and Dude Beatson, Michelle Mayn and Jo Torr are among participating artists, as indeed is Northcote artist Helen Schamorth. 

The exhibition is divided into eight sections, each bringing to life the long silent voices of women – Maori and Pakeha  - from this pivotal time in the history of Aotearoa|New Zealand. A well-written and informative short catalogue essay by textile scholar and writer Vivien Caughley, together with an artist statement on the work inspired by the specific subject, accompanies each section. Thus ‘M-Marks. Signals’  backgrounds Dinah Hall, one of the first missionary wives to arrive in the Bay of Islands in 1814,  the friendship between Ruatara of Rangihoua and the missionaries and the flying of flags and ensigns - Maori and British - in the area. Artist Maureen Lander then relates the 1805–1820 timeline recorded in her two stitched flags. ‘Hannah King and Ewhora. X-Marked garments’ outlines the story of Mrs King, the youngest of the first three missionary wives, and that of ten year-old Ewhora, daughter of Ruatara, and his principal wife whom she taught to sew garments. Artist Jo Torr notes that “recorded incident where Ewhora was given a “piece of print” and taught by accomplished needlewoman Hannah King to construct two gowns, is the exchange that most resonated for me and to which I have responded” in her making of two red gowns from linen and dressed flax (muka). 

‘X-marks. Conversations in Cloth’ will be in the gallery until 3 July and is supported by a grant from the Kaipatiki Local Board. For information on workshops associated with the exhibition please see www.northart.co.nz

Exhibitions by Cath Williams and Gillian Lander will follow ‘roinn’ in galleries 4 and 5 and open on Monday 17 June. Both are locally-based artists whose works are landscape-based.

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