Gallery provides sunshine in your day

By Cindy McQuade

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Hekia's Handbag/ Parata's Purse by Chanz Mikaere.  Photo/Stephen Parker
Hekia's Handbag/ Parata's Purse by Chanz Mikaere. Photo/Stephen Parker

Need some brightness to lighten up your winter day?

Helium Gallery is showing a range of vibrant works over the next month and a visit to the gallery will put some sunshine in your day - even if there isn't any outside.

The works are in a range of mediums including wax, ceramic, paint and weaving featuring New Zealand artists who have very different ideas and styles, according to gallery owner, Sarah Ziessen.

She believes one of the more challenging works in the exhibition is by Chanz Mikaere called Hekia's Handbag / Parata's Purse.

Hekia's Handbag/ Parata's Purse by Chanz Mikaere.
Hekia's Handbag/ Parata's Purse by Chanz Mikaere.


The work is a pink leather handbag, which falls open from the wall revealing its interior lining. This lining is woven from flesh and blood pink leather; strands of the weaving hang from the bag.

"There is something comic in this bag's brazen exposure of its innards. Yet a little thought uncovers deep layers of meaning and a work that is rich with complex ideas around female and cultural identity.

Hekia's Handbag presents itself as a challenge to the viewer: A challenge to see beyond the façade. It is a work made by an outspoken local artist that is both confrontational, humorous and intelligent," she said.

Other artists exhibiting are Lani Eyles, Bridget Thornton and Cherie Overbeay.

Eyles' paintings brought the outside indoors and presented a compelling and imaginative world in which humans and animals peacefully coexisted, said Mrs Ziessen.

They were complemented by Thornton's gestural works which were born out of spontaneous moments and her free-floating spirit.

"Cherie Overbeay's deep blue wax painting explores the internal workings of the body, with imagery inspired by electron microscopes photos of human microbes," she said.

While some people might not understand contemporary art, there is often more to it than first meets the eye.

"It is often the goal of art to give pleasure, but the enjoyment may not come from the way the work looks. Instead it may come from what the work inspires you, the viewer to think about."

What: Helium Winter Exhibition
Where: 1283 Tutanekai St
When: Now until August 13

- Rotorua Daily Post

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