A vibrant new show with a definitively beachy vibe has opened at Hastings City Art Gallery – Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga, just in time to take all your holiday visitors to see it over the summer break.
The Path, which opened on Friday, is a joyous celebration of surfing, but that doesn't mean it's a show just for surfers. A wide variety of artists and mediums come together to explore the effects of surfing and its subcultures on artistic practice, alongside the significance of surf culture within both Hawke's Bay and the wider Te Moananui a Kiwa region.
The exhibition features 34 artists, guaranteeing something for everyone – from deeply calming, reassuring scenes that draw the viewer in, to joy-filled works that embrace and give a taste of the freedom surfing offers. But don't be mistaken – this isn't a show of "surf art", exhibitions curator Clayton Gibson says.
"It is an exhibition of work by a group of talented creatives who share something very unique in common," he says.
The age of artists featured spans the decades, from 1950s to early 2000s, and the work exhibited reflects many of the influences on surf culture over that time.
"The gender imbalance in the artists involved reflects the time period covered, when women growing up in the 60s, 70s and 80s were discouraged to surf," Mr Gibson says.
Surfing in general has its roots in Polynesian culture, with surfing brought to Aotearoa from Hawaiiki.
"Here in Heretaunga, we are linked directly to the oral history surrounding surfing through the story of how Kahungunu won the hand of Rongomaiwahine in Māhia," Gibson says.
This uniquely local story is explained in full as you enter the exhibition.
Gibson says surfers take years to perfect their craft and study the environment around them, in much the same way a practising artist does.
"Some of these artists have perfected their surfing over decades while others have just begun the journey. Much like in art, once a surfer masters the craft an individual style of expression emerges. And the trained eye can recognise these individual signatures at a glance."
Those instantly recognisable artistic signatures can be seen in the work of Claudia Kogachi, John Walsh, Tony Ogle, and Aaron Kereopa in The Path, Mr Gibson says.
Other artists include Glen Armstrong, Kent Baddeley, Jordan Barnes, Jeremy Bennett, Mauricio Benega, Brian Campbell, Troy Conole, Lindsay Crooks, Peter Day, Scott Gardiner, Steve Gibbs, Aaron Greaves, Margaret Hansen, Bill Hayes, Joanna Joseph, Clive Kelly, Luke Kelly, Luke Kerr, Peter Lambert, Daryn Mcbride, John McLean, Damon Meade, Peter Miller, Alex Monteith, Christian Nicolson, Isaac Petersen, Craig Potton, and Richard Rogers. Items from surfboard collector James Newby and author Aaron Topp are also included.
"This show gives our community a unique glimpse into the contemplation that can be found alone in the studio or looking to the horizon from a surfboard. It's a feeling of place and mindful contemplation," Mr Gibson says.
The Path is open in the Main Gallery until March 13.
Public programme events include:
Floor talk and documentary screening with Peter Day - Friday, January 21, 12pm–1pm
The Path celebration evening – Friday, January 21, 5.30pm
The Path panel discussion with artists John Walsh, Aaron Kereopa, Aaron Topp and Margaret Hansen – Saturday , January 22, 11am–12.15pm
Floor talk with Dr Steve Gibbs - Sunday , January 23, 11am–12pm
Book launch Aaron Topp: Nor'east Swell – Thursday, February 3, 5.30pm
Please note, all visitors to the gallery while these events are on will need their My Vaccine Pass scanned before entry.
Hastings City Art Gallery – Te Whare Toi o Heretaunga is open normal hours, every day over the summer break, except for Christmas and Boxing Day when it is closed. It will also close at 3pm on Christmas Eve. For further information about our events go to the gallery website – www.hastingscityartgallery.co.nz