Public given free rein on Richie McCaw's face

By Rebecca Cawston

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It's hard to resist Richie McCaw.

Every day artist Ann Woolliams walks into her Arts Village space and sees the All Blacks legend staring back at her. She has sketched his recognisable face onto a canvas - a canvas designed for the public to create - and everyday she's tempted to give it a go herself.

Anyone is welcome to come and paint a section of McCaw's face. A mixed bag of nationalities have already made their patriotic mark on the work, Ms Woolliams said.

"Some are perfectionists and will spend 15 minutes mixing paint, while others are just having fun," she said.

Part of the Open Studio Project's summer residency criteria is that artists must include one item for the public to help create.

Ms Woolliams is spending her residency painting the "run on" team from this year's Rugby World Cup final.

It's not a hard topic for the fun loving artist. "I love painting manly men," she laughed.
The 15 All Blacks are all head and shoulders, action portraits painted in Ms Woolliams' realistic style.

Ms Woolliams said she was now a "roaring rugby fan".

The McCaw portrait is divided into 100 sections and the public have free rein.

The Open Studio Project is a yearly event hosted by The Arts Village which gives artists the opportunity to work over summer.

The idea is for artists to include work which offers audience engagement.

This summer's Open Studios Project residents are Ann Woolliams, Oliver Eason and Matiu Hamuera.

The Arts Village community engagement co-ordinator Imogen Stockwell said the mix of disciplines this year provided a "really different sensory experience".

"We are normally associated with visual artists so it is great to have these other disciplines. Music and dance are two key disciplines that are not normally associated with us."

Eason has set up a recording studio at The Arts Village and the public is invited to flex its musical talents with recording. Hamuera is working on a combination of raranga (weaving) and dance.

For more information check out or head along to the Arts Village on the corner of Hinemaru and Hinemoa streets.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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