For Rotorua artist Fabiola Barba her pictures of classic blues, soul and jazz performers are not just tributes to the artists - they are a celebration of hope in the face of adversity.
On until February 20, her exhibition Eternal Blues sees her use just pencil and paper to draw some of the world's best known black performers.
"It's more then just the blues, it's the hidden soul power of these people," she said.
"Many years ago they were slaves ... it's about how their stories can be used in a creative way. They were using their creativity to do some good."
She uses ordinary pencils to create detailed portraits of such musical legends as Billie Holliday, Koko Taylor, Gary Davis Jr and Memphis Minnie.
Blues music originated in the deep south of the United States and is known for its soulful rhythms and lyrics infused with tales of sorrow and hardship.
Museum public programmes manager William Yip said the exhibition, in the museum cafe, had received a lot of great feedback.
"It's really cool, a lot of people think they are photos," he said.
The exhibition can be assessed from the cafe and the museum.