Ropiha Paul Bevan is exhibiting some of his work in a two-month long show at Cooks Gallery, the home of Wanganui Art Society.

Ropiha donates most of his work to the society, so most of what is on display is from the society's permanent collection. One painting is on loan from the owner.

Paintings on show have been executed in oils, acrylics and the humble felt tip pen.
"Kids' stuff," says Ropiha. He also has two pottery pieces in the exhibition.

To view the show is to travel from New Zealand to places around the world. He has scenes from places such as France, Poland, Scotland, Sweden, Italy, South Africa, Russia, Dubai ... not that Ropiha has been to these places except via the library.
A picture of Pipiriki House in its heyday is draughtsman-like in its complexity, complete with Hatrick steamboats on the river. A cropped version of it appeared on the cover of Art New Zealand magazine in September, 1989.


"Art is in my family," says Ropiha. "Everyone has a gift and I was able to draw from an early stage. My father could, my mother wasn't too bad ... one of my sisters could ... but my cousin, John Bevan Ford was well known here and overseas."
John Bevan Ford, who died in 2005, was a Maori artist who used coloured inks, liquid arylic and sometimes coloured pastels and graphite.

Ropiha likes to work in vivid colour, whatever the medium.
His art goes back to his childhood and days spent in a classroom of a Catholic school, drawing instead of paying attention to the teacher.
"I went to UCOL to learn some of the finer points. When I draw, I know when I've done enough and I don't sign it until I'm finished." He signs his work RP Bevan.

For the past six years Ropiha has offered an annual exhibition scholarship to a young artist.
"Ropiha is very special to Rei Hendry's Art House and the Art Society, and he does a lot to support the young ones," says Judy Webby, Art Society committee member.

"Down the line, if we get one person who comes back to this gallery, we've succeeded," says Ropiha. "If the arts are going to continue we've got to get the young ones interested." The exhibition of Ropiha Paul Bevan's works is open on Saturdays from 10am till 2.30pm, and Monday and Tuesday, 10am until midday.