By Emily Norman

Emily.norman@age.co.nz

An all-encapsulating art exhibition, featuring media from film to textiles and sculpture, has opened at Aratoi Museum of Art and History.

The works, featured in the exhibition Art is a Living Thing, were created by 100 artists from all over the world who have been a part of the New Zealand Pacific Studio (NZPS) artists’ residency programme.

The exhibition space has touches of home from the artist residency at Mount Bruce. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

The exhibition space has touches of home from the artist residency at Mount Bruce. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

NZPS, an internationally-renowned rural artists’ residency, is a hidden gem at Mount Bruce, north of Masterton.

For the past 15 years, the 1911 villa has hosted hundreds of creative people including writers, musicians, and visual artists.

The exhibition was curated by author and photographer Madeleine Slavick with the assistance of NZPS resident artist Mark Manning, and Aratoi .

It opened on Friday night, kicking off with Japanese poetry and Paeakau, an opera libretto written by 2016 Friends of Aratoi Fellow Michelle Hawkins of Australia, and performed by Holly and Zac Winterwood.

“Art is a living thing. It needs nourishment. It needs a community,” Slavick said.

“New Zealand Pacific Studio works to provide a space where art – in whatever form – can live, and thrive.”

The exhibition is in the Wesley Wing of Aratoi, which was once a church.

Slavick said she was pleased to be able to hold the exhibition in a venue that had once been a “sanctuary”, as NZPS was “a sanctuary for artists”.

Jodie Dalgleish, artist, and former NZPS Director and Programme Manager said there was something “almost magical” that happened when artists experienced the residency environment, and said community support was needed to keep creative spaces alive.

“As Governments become more and more stretched, the Arts falls more and more to a community of patrons, sponsors and workers.

Justine Fletcher created 607 pendants to honour the 607 Wairarapa suffragettes. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

Justine Fletcher created 607 pendants to honour the 607 Wairarapa suffragettes. PHOTO/EMILY NORMAN

“There have to be places outside the frame of workday obligations and the turn of the wheels of the system.

“Creation requires space.”

The exhibition runs until January 15 and featured a live music performance on Saturday by Hemi Walker, Sarah Dill, and Leo and Karen Cappel.

There will also be a one-woman show in the exhibition space by Rose Kirkup on January 14 from 2pm, and a medley of films by Denise Batchelor and other artists who have been NZPS residents on January 15 from 2pm.