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Art collaboration gets to Aratoi

A local art exhibition by a Wellington-based artist that features creative writing from Featherston School pupils will be shown overseas as part of the River of Hope Festival in London, England.

The environmental education charity, London-based Global Generation, will use the artwork and writing from the children as a stimulus to produce further art and written responses.

The Featherston School students joined artist Jenny Keate on Wednesday for her ‘Looking Sideways’ exhibition at Aratoi Museum and Art Gallery in Masterton.

The students first worked with Keate during a planting day in the Waihinga bush in collaboration with Ruamāhanga Mauri Oho and Ruamāhanga Restoration Trust.

After their planting day, the tamariki [children] were asked to write about their experience and Keate then used those words as part of her art.

Keate admitted that she was worried about putting words on the art at first but that “the minute I put them on, I knew I’d done the right thing”.

Keate then ran an art workshop for the tamariki at Hau Ariki Marae in Martinborough.

She described working with the children on their artwork as “unpredictable”.

“We didn’t know what we’d get,” she said.

The children’s artwork was displayed as part of the exhibition and their words transposed over top of the largest pieces from Keate’s collection.

To open the small event at Aratoi, Wiremu Dawson from Hau Ariki Marae said a karakia before leading the children in a waiata.

The children were then given the opportunity to read their original poetry, a range of freeform poetry and haiku.

Principal Gina Smith said she is proud of the students, who she described as “very special young people who will go on to be the leaders of our community”.

She said she hopes that this experience leads them to continue “doing things for our environment and rebuild the mess that we made”.

For her part, Keate wants to continue working with the students on further environmentally focused projects in the future.

The following tamariki participated in the project and have their art displayed in Aratoi; Myra-Lee Turner-Sinclair, Hunter Isbister, Satriani Ngaweketuhimata, PJ Rogers, Declan Hoyle, Jayden Pirimona, Aniwa Ducommun, Haylow Taitapanui, Khalyous Keir, Fletcher Baker, Thomas Cremen, Jonah Stanley, and Jharal Hohipuha.

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