Artist Dick Frizzell along with poet Sam Hunt team up to aid whales

'One for the Whales' -by Dick Frizzell, & inspired by Sam Hunt's poem. (photo)

‘One for the Whales’ -by Dick Frizzell, & inspired by Sam Hunt’s poem. (photo)

‘One for the Whales’ is the first print in the series, that will be sold to raise funds for a proposed National Whale Centre in Marlborough.

The Screenprint by Dick Frizzell was inspired Sam Hunts poem, ‘The Harpooner’s Song.’

Other artists who will be submitting art work for this cause are: New Zealand artists -Robin White, John Walsh, John Pule, Greg O’Brien, and Australian artist Fiona Hall.

An article on said this about the proposed Whale Centre:

The whale centre planned for Picton will tell the story of New Zealand’s whaling history in the Marlborough Sounds and promote the conservation of whales and dolphins through information, research and exhibitions.

Read more here – on Voxy and Stuff.


We’re not getting out of here alive OR The Land Show

We're not getting out of here alive flyer.

We’re not getting out of here alive flyer.

A group exhibition held at the Blue Oyster Art Gallery, Dunedin (Nov-Dec 2012) with two titles ‘We’re not getting out of here alive,’ or, ‘The Land Show.’

Again- these artists and their artworks confront us on the effects we have on this Earth.

Artists included: Max Bellamy, Kate Belton, Mark Bolland, Sophie Jerram, Mizuho Nishioka, Karim Sahai, Johnathon Titheridge, Sebastian Warne, Jane Zusters curated by Jamie Hanton.

The exhibition draws on Timothy Morton’s contention in Ecology without Nature that:

“Nobody likes it when you mention the unconscious…because when you mention it, it becomes conscious. In the same way, when you mention the environment, you bring it into the foreground. In other words, it stops being the environment. It stops being That Thing Over There that surrounds and sustains us. When you think about where your waste goes, your world starts to shrink.” (Ecology without Nature, Harvard University Press, 2006, p.1)

By highlighting the drastic and irreversible actions others have taken in their attempts to claim a proprietary or capitalistic dominion over the land we are left to contemplate what might be done in response.

(Read more here, see more pictures here)

ARTISTS as ACTIVISTS: Fighting for our environment

Sam Mahon - “Escape”

Sam Mahon – “Escape”

This was an exhibition (late 2010) that I stumbled across while surfing the net, and thought was really interesting. It also fits in perfectly with the topic of this blog.

The exhibition consisted of paintings, drawings, photography and sculpture by some of New Zealand’s leading artists, all of whom use their art to express their passion for our environment and sometimes to protest against its desecration.

It included works by Michael Smither, Don Binney, Nick Dryden, Grahame Sydney, Sam Mahon, Ian Hamlin, Dean Buchanan, Jane Zusters and members of the Academy. With poems by Brian Turner.

“As far as I know, this is the first time the work of so many of New Zealand’s leading artists has been brought together around the theme of environmental activism, protest and political ideas.” -curator Ian Hamlin

The idea of artist as protester is nothing new and the artist’s readiness to communicate the unspoken, to think beyond his or her own experience, to attempt to push the audience out of its comfort zone, and speak for those who do not dare, has created some of the most powerful artworks in the world. Here in New Zealand, artists are seldom far away from controversial issues and in recent times, the environment has been a particular driver for protest.

(read more here)

New Zealand Sculpture ON Shore III raises money for Woman’s Refuge

Artist, Joe Kemp's sculptural piece 'Matau A Maui'.Photo by Howard Williams.

Artist, Joe Kemp’s sculptural piece ‘Matau A Maui’. Photo by Howard Williams. Photo sourced from New Zealand Sculpture ON Shore Facebook page.

NZ Sculpture OnShore is an outdoor exhibition that happens every two years and is based in Auckland’s North Shore.

New Zealand artists from all different artistic backgrounds joined in to be a part of this event in 2012.

Money raised from this exhibition went towards Women’s Refuge.

Lake Rotorua artist Joe Kemp’s piece entitled Matau a Maui (the fish hook of Maui), took six weeks to make. The artwork represents the strength of women.

He said he was proud to support women and had chosen the fish hook as his main piece as legend states Maui made the fish hook used to bring up the North Island from his sorcerer grandmother’s jaw-bone. The theme of this year’s exhibition was the beach or the Year of the Menagerie, which the fish hook fitted well with, Mr Kemp said.

Read more here. See the gallery of artworks here.

Little Lotus Project

Local artists including Askew, Misery, Flox and Meghan Geliza are exhibiting art in Wellington’s National Portrait Gallery 12-18 October for refugee Burmese children in poverty, to be auctioned online…

“A few months back, I was flown by the NZ charity Spinning Top to the border of Thailand and Burma, alongside 13 Kiwi and US artists, to help refugee children through art, called the Little Lotus Project, which included NZ volunteers Jon Drypnz, Cleo Barnett and organiser Pat Shepherd among others. We painted murals and taught art classes to these schools” says Meghan Geliza.

All proceeds on art sold will go to these Burmese refugee kids.

Read more here (above photos were also sourced from this site)

Art and conservation

The following few links covers art in New Zealand and a few from some other countries that touch on issues of the environment and conservation.

The Kermadec exhibition Wakey, Wakey, Wakey opened on 4th October at Wellington’s City Gallery and is on until February.

This exhibition consists of work from nine artists: Phil Dadson, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Gregory O’Brien, Jason O’Hara, John Pule, John Reynolds, Elizabeth Thomson and Robin White, who were selected to visit the Kermadecs in 2011 because of their connection to the Pacific, through art, ancestry, upbringing and everyday life.

“Wakey Wakey Wakey is calling on New Zealanders to wake up to the Kermadecs – it’s a unique, awe-inspiring place that New Zealand is responsible for. We want more people to know about it and feel connected to it,” John Reynolds. Read more of this article here:Exhibition’s marine wakeup call for Kiwis – Wellington exhibit puts sanctuary in spotlight

For more information check out the Wellington city art gallery website and the official Kermadec site

(above Wakey Wakey Wakey image from The Kermadecs facebook page)

Wild Creations Artists in residence programme is the Department of Conservation’s Artists in Residence programme, run in partnership with Creative New Zealand.

It gives New Zealand artists the chance to spend six weeks in natural or historical sites to experience the people, stories and challenges of the site, and draw inspiration from their surroundings to use in their work.

Check out some of the previous artists and the galleries of their work during their Wild Creation experience here

TWEET ME    “An interactive exhibit giving our birds a voice and bringing the forest back to life.”

Created by Tanya Marriott in response to her 2006 Creative NZ/DOC Wild creations residency at Maud Island wildlife reserve.

It has recently become a finalist in the New Zealand Best Awards in the Spatial Design section.

Watch this video to learn more about it.

Image sourced from here

And from further afield in Canada is the Artists for Conservation Festival 2012, Oct. 13-21 at North Vancouver’s Grouse Mountain.

It is a festival showcasing the world’s leading wildlife artists as well as bringing a unique perspective to some of the day’s most topical environmental issues.

Read more here.

WHAKAWHITI ĀRIA: TRANSMISSION exhibition at Te Manawa in the Manawatu

Artists’ exhibition a commentary on their own workImage

Maori artists Shane Cotton, Israel Tangaroa Birch and professor Robert Jahnke have joined together to produce a unique exhibition.

The idea came about after the trio were discussing how Maori knowledge in visual arts is disseminated through contemporary art practices. It was then the three artists decided to use their own work to demonstrate the concept.

“We chose to comment on each other’s artworks to create a show that provides a distinct point of view on the state of Maori art,” Birch said.

Read more here

Photo sourced from the Te Manawa Museum of Art, Science & History facebook page.

Blast! the exhibition-work by anti-nuclear artists

Vessel and Blast, Pat Hanly, 1986

In 1987 the decision was made by the government to make New Zealand a nuclear-free country.

This Auckland exhibition celebrates the 25th anniversary of this event in NZ history, with anti-nuclear paintings by kiwi artist Pat Hanly, and documentary photographs by his wife Gil Hanly.

Read more here.

Learning more about oil through art

The Slick exhibition was set up as a project between Nelson artists and school children aimed at showing how dependent we are on oil based products in everyday life, and bringing awareness to the hazards of oil drilling in New Zealand waters.

One of the artworks created by the pupils, that they call the ‘Oillution Curtain’ was made out of recycled ice-cream containers, and was painted black merging into blue and white representing at-risk oceans.

Pupil Zoe Fyfe, 11, said the work showed oil invading over the water and killing everything that was healthy (reference for this quote from Nelson Mail/Stuff)

See more information behind this exhibition here. And read more about the students learning and artistic experience here, along with seeing a picture of their artwork.

From the awareness of how dependent we are on this substance a lot know as ‘black gold’ we go to one of the destructive aspects of oil, showing the effects of oil spills in our oceans.

On 5th October 2011 the Rena disaster happened in New Zealand waters, just off the coast of Tauranga. The boat ran aground resulting in 350 tonnes of oil to spill from the wreckage. Thousands of birds were found coated in thick, black, sticky oil  and more than 2000 birds died in this tragedy. The ecosystems and food sources of these birds were also contaminated.

Along with it being an environmental disaster for this country a lot of money has had to be spent on the Rena clean up. Maritime New Zealand recently calculated that $27.7 million has been spent so far.

The birds that survived spent time in a Wildlife Recovery Centre being nursed back to health. One creative way that people helped to make a difference for the little blue penguins caught in this oil spill was to knit little jumpers for them. These helped to protect them and prevented them from preening their feathers and ingesting the toxic oil. (Penguin image right)

Some of the most memorable images emerged from this disaster. I remember seeing huge posters plastered up around the centre of Wellington with the haunting black oil prints of the small birds bodies pressed onto a stark white background. These images have stayed with me months down the track. (Above image by Nigel Marple-Greenpeace.)

And so did this short Greenpeace video:

Read more about the oil bird prints here.

See more of the pictures from the exhibition. (click on the exhibition tab more pictures).

Further afield some of Daniel Beltra’s environmental photographs of a Deepwater Horizon oil spill off the coast of Florida 2010 are featured in the ‘Looking back at Earth’ exhibition at the Hood Museum of Art in the United States of America.

“Beltra’s simultaneously vibrant and unsettling documentation of the BP oil spill characterizes the 23-piece exhibit, which combines aesthetic beauty with underlying environmental significance.” Reference from the article ‘Hood Museum exhibits Daniel Beltra’s environmental photography’ read more here.

The images showing the oil spill from an arial view are quite beautiful in a way (the colours and patterns in the photos, not the oil spill itself). From a distance, at a birds eye view they also show us the sheer magnitude of events like this. They are sobering images.

Check out more of Daniel Beltra’s amazing photos and learn more about him on his website.

Current issues addressed in sculpture trail

1344 Red Kiwis- By Donna Sarten (photo sourced from The Epoch Times)


Sculptural works at Te Atatu Peninsula by some of New Zealand’s top artists illustrate current environmental, political and social issues that relate specifically to New Zealand. They reflect the ecology of the area and confront issues such as child abuse and the near extinction of native animals and birds (to name a few.)

Read more about the sculpture trail here

View the official website and see more pictures here