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Local input adds interest to art

Richard Reddaway and Wairarapa Embroiderers’ Guild member Stephanie Chilcott, wearing Chilcott’s collaborative pieces. PHOTOS/EMMA BROWN

EMMA BROWN
[email protected]

The work of Wairarapa people, some who wouldn’t class themselves as artists, went on display with a well-known visiting artist’s work at Aratoi yesterday.

The exhibition by Wellington Massey University school of art professor Richard Reddaway, “the body of the work/it does no harm to wonder”, features 30 years of his multi-media work, but also the fruits of a collaboration with Wairarapa groups who have created pieces to work in with his collection.

It’s been 35 years since a Reddaway sculpture graced Aratoi at the Hansells sculpture awards.

Richard Reddaway putting up his hessian wooden sculpture for the upcoming exhibition at Aratoi.

The exhibition shows the evolution of Reddaway’s works and the influence earlier pieces and experiences had on his future art.

It explores enduring themes, and tracks them in relation to the socio-political contexts in which they were made.

It includes sculptures from the mid-1980s, photomontages from the 1990s, sculptures, and new collaborative work.

Reddaway said he had enjoyed putting the exhibition together as it featured works that had not been on show in years.

The idea to invite Wairarapa people to create pieces to fit with the exhibition came from curator Janita Craw.

It would help them connect with the exhibition, Reddaway said.

Otherwise it becomes very abstract.”

Members of Henley Men’s Shed, Wairarapa Embroiderers’ Guild, Wairarapa Spinners and Weavers, and pupils from Douglas Park School were given a set of “rules” for making the pieces.

Reddaway said he enjoyed chatting to people about “what is craft, what is practical and what is art”.

On Monday, when people started bringing in their pieces, he was excited to see what they had come up with and to hear the stories behind the people and the pieces.

“It surprised me how much energy they put in and how enthusiastic they have been,” Reddaway said.

He is going to also add pictures of the creators wearing their pieces to go in the exhibition.

One of the collaborators, Stephanie Chilcott from Wairarapa Embroiderers’ Guild, said it was the time constraint of two months that was difficult for a few people, especially the embroiderers.

“It was quite challenging working with the protocols because you had to really think outside of the box.”

It was about getting an idea, drawing it, and then trying and make it work, she said.

Collaborators include Kate Devenny and Becky Bateman [Museum Educators, Aratoi]; Janet Palmer-Langley, Marion Cameron, Win Ward, Helga Ackerley, Noelene Dunlop [Wairarapa Spinners and Weavers]; Stephanie Chilcott, Noella Godinet, and the members of the Wairarapa Embroiderers’ Guild; Rick Wallace, Pat Cunningham, Seymour Harris, Graham Pearson [Henley Men’s Shed]; and pupils and teachers at Douglas Park School.

The exhibition runs through to February 23, 2020.hool

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