Level 4 restrictions don’t appear to have stifled artistic freedom and expression. Instead the unscheduled extra time has fired up imaginations of local artists who have been inspired to find different ways to bring their work to Mangawhai and beyond.
Mangawhai Artist Inc (MAI) chair Mary-Anne Boyd says artistic creations in various media by people of all ages have materialised on local social media, in windows, on fences and even gateposts, creating a sense of community.
“The lockdown has highlighted how important creativity and art are for health and wellbeing in everyday life, and encouraged creativity as people have had to adapt to their situations and made use of whatever is at hand.”
With Mangawhai’s art hub – MAI’s Moir Street gallery – having to close just as members were preparing new works for the Easter exhibition, Boyd says artists ‘did not take long to optimise opportunities’.
“Within days of the Level 4 announcement, the Easter Art Showcase was born – an innovative, online solution to the lockdown restrictions,” she says. “This showcase on the Mangawhai Artists website and our social media page, began on March 28 and will continue into May. New artwork will feature every two days and people can view the previously featured work which will stay on the site.”
Work on the extension to the gallery has also been paused during the lockdown and the annual Art Trail deferred to a later date in the year.
“Artists are very much looking forward to the day when art classes and workshops will be able to continue, so they can nurture the creativity which has been bubbling away within homes during lockdown.”
§ To view the Easter Art Showcase visit mangawhaiartists.co.nz
Some of the extraordinary works MAI artists are exhibiting online in the Easter Art Showcase.
‘Innocence’ by Pip Murray-Aynsley, ‘Back gate’ by Jenny Macpherson, and ‘BirdFlu’ by Elena Nikolaeva. PHOTOS/SUPPLIED
Mangawhai Heads artist Nicola Everett went one better than the nationwide trend of having a soft toy in her window, painting adorable bears and bunnies on large pieces of linen before displaying them along her fence in Jack Boyd Drive, much to the delight of neighbouring children.
Nicola says the individual characteristics and antics of each animal were inspired by friends and neighbours passing by her home as well as effects of the lockdowns restrictions – bears and bunnies holding a surfboard, fishing tackle, skis and flying a plane – as well as activities people spend their time on such as gardening, flying kites and cycling. Essential working furry creatures – a medic, police officer as well as the Easter bunny – are also colourfully represented.
“Each bunny and bear tell a tale… there’s one for the ukulele ladies and one on crutches which is for my friend Marion who went for a walk recently and unfortunately fell, ending up in hospital with a broken leg.”
Neighbouring children also became a muse for Nicola, with Ethan Stretton (8) on his flame-red quad, and friend nearly-four-year-old Mille Turner (with sister Ella, 11) astride her bike.
- PHOTO/JULIA WADE
Artist, teacher and Head of Arts and Languages at Otamatea High School, Rebecca Barclay-Clist has been ‘encouraging the creative juices of school children to flow’ via her afternoon show on TVNZ’s education Channel 7 (2+1), Art Shed.
In the spirit of the lockdown bubble, Rebecca’s husband Jon has been helping out as camera man.
“Communicating without words is an essential part of growing confident, connected, active lifelong learners,” MAI chair Mary-Anne Boyd says. “The show explores the theme of ‘Ko wai au – Who am I’ and gives practical ideas for children, teenagers and their families/whanau to use whatever they have available to create a time capsule of their lockdown experience including ideas for a personal logo for self, family/whanau portraits, and exploring various ways of drawing and painting.”