There's an artist in town who is looking forward to the reaction he gets from his latest collection which deals with "some contentious issues".

John Brown's new exhibition The Great Race explores theories from the controversial book To the End of the Earth which claims that the Greek Egyptian voyagers were the first people to visit Aotearoa.

Brown was inspired by his own history.

"While investigating my own pepeha I discovered that my great-great-grandfather was Greek. He sailed for New Zealand with 10 children and his wife in 1906, however, the ship capsized and he, his wife and a youngster died. This history was never talked about in my family but it got me thinking," Brown said.


"In this new series of representational paintings which amalgamate various painterly conventions, iconography, landscapes and histories, where meaning doubles itself as both tragedy and farce.

"This theatrical body of work is in part inspired by my attempt to piece together my Pakeha/Greek heritage and family history, which has been fragmented through a shipwreck incident, adoption, and integration. These works hope to explore this mixed lineage through unlikely pairings of pyramids, cobra, eels, spirit-like entities, and architectural forms."

Brown has been working on these collection for a year from his studio at home and says no one has seen them. "They haven't appeared on social media. I have tried to develop a new painting style for them and am really pleased with the results — I have enjoyed making them."

Brown who works fulltime as an exhibition designer at the Hastings City Art Gallery is also an art installation technician.

He will come into your home and hang your art.

"People pay a lot of money for art, so they want it hung properly. I trust my instincts when it comes to placing art and ensure there is no damage.

"It can be nerve-wracking when you are dealing with expensive art work."

Brown, who has been making art for more than 20 years, won a major award at the Molly Morpeth Canada Awards recently for his work The Battle For Tuber which is part of the series The Great Race


Painting is fairly new to Brown who started his artistic career in sculpture.

The exhibition opens on Friday and Brown hopes that it will be thought-provoking and that "people will drift in and out of the images".

■The Great Race opens Friday, from 5pm-7pm, at the SPA-CE Gallery, 116 Tennyson Street (upstairs), Napier. Brown will be in attendance.