Remembering her first artistic creations — mud pies she carefully sculpted and moulded, before selling them off the top of her father's old beer crates, Debbie Pointon's art has come a long way over the last 50 years.

Preparing for her latest exhibition, the Raumati South artist has created a collection of 'assemblages' that parallels with the work she does at Kenepuru Hospital.

Taking a doll that a fellow artist deemed rubbish because of its imperfections and transforming it into something 'new and glorious', has been the inspiration for Debbie's collection of pieces going into the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts show Gloriously Eclectic.

Organised by Wellington artist Di Conway, Di invited Debbie, Waikanae artist Helen Forrest and two other artists to join her in creating a show featuring an eclectic mix of different practices.

Helen Forrest in her studio. Photo / Rosalie Willis
Helen Forrest in her studio. Photo / Rosalie Willis

"I've got my assemblages," Debbie said. "I start with a point and it will just evolve and develop.

"It's like a transformation and it follows on from the work I do at Kenepuru Hospital in Porirua."

Using art to help clients with mental health struggles, Debbie helps them to find their creative side, guiding them and bringing out the beauty from within.

"They'll come in and say they're not artistic, and then they'll end up being a beautiful carver or painter.

"Everyone is creative. I help them find that little thing within themselves that is creative, and give them the tools to bring it out and they transform.

"It's like a metamorphous of themselves, and that's what happens here with my art too."

Debbie's art is about bringing life to objects that others see as not perfect.

Gloriously Eclectic follows on from an exhibition last year called Glorious.


Coinciding with WOW, the exhibition also features work by Waikanae artist Helen Forrest who is creating furniture art.

There are threads of commonality between WOW and Gloriously Eclectic.

"There's the fabric, and the dolls are a bit like the mannequins. This whole project is about giving new life.

"I like the practical application of furniture — to turn it into a work of art.

"Not to denigrate the fantastic carpenters who made the pieces but to give it a new life."

Helen has always been interested in the world around her and finding ways to interact with art.

"I'm very imaginative.

"Being imaginative and creative are two of the threads that have run through me since I was young."

Working with furniture, Helen has had to get over her fear of painting over old wood.

"I paint, stencil, reupholster and for these two (works that will be at the exhibit) I had to deconstruct the chairs completely."

All five artists are working with different mediums and have distinct styles.

"They will all be quite interesting together," Deb said.

"We are a unique collective of women," Helen said.

"I think we are all a bit raunchy and brave — you've got to be brave to be an artist."

Gloriously Eclectic features Di Conway, Helen Forrest, Debbie Pointon, Jan McLean and Susan Hurrell-Fieldes and is on at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts from Friday, September 20 to Sunday, October 13, 10am-5pm.

Meet and greet with the artists, Wednesday, September 25 from 5-7pm.