Around 30 Aucklanders jumped on and off the White Night Art Bus from Q Theatre on Saturday night and went west. The bus trip was part of an evening of free events from 6pm-midnight all over Auckland brought together under the title "White Night" which invites people to engage with art.
The 10-20 minute stops at each destination - just enough to enjoy "snacks" of art - comprised a surprisingly satisfying thali which was the theme for the night. (Thali refers to an Indian - or Nepalese - meal consisting of various dishes; think small bites and tapas).
Our first stop was Akepiro Studios in Eden Terrace where the 13 artists' diverse work was a fitting introduction to trip's thali theme. That our driver kept getting lost helped break the ice on board. Passengers shouted as he passed Pah Homestead and helped stop traffic as he reversed to the entrance. Bollywood singers greeted us at the door; inside those who wanted to could try their hand at drawing or take in a Richard McWhannell retrospective.
Off again and the bus was rocking to Bollywood music as members of the Prayas Theatre Company taught us some moves before we arrived at Titirangi's Te Uru. Prayas had prepared a 10-minute "unplugged" Bollywood film, which they enacted to a background of huge diptychs by Bepen Bhana.
He explained how he stripped west coast landscapes of signs of habitation and superimposed billboard-type Bollywood stars on them. The paintings reminded me diverse groups now claim New Zealand as home. Downstairs, a photographic study of a Samoan man by Yuki Kihara foregrounded stereotypes of Pacific Island rugby players.
This theme was continued when we reached Ponsonby. Studio One's group show of Pacific artists included a chance to dress up.
What: White Night Art Bus
Who: Akepiro Studios' artists and artists showing at Pah Homestead, Te Uru and Studio One.
Where: Starts Q Theatre and heads west.