: I had my first "Confluence Experience" last Thursday and it was marvellous.
Kevin Double and Melita Farley of Double Farley Creative Partners are offering us all the opportunity to view screenings of documentaries of all kinds in their intimate theatre. The area is pleasant and comfortable and vision and sound are of excellent quality. There is a screening every Thursday — Thoughtful Thursdays — at 6.30pm at the small cost of for $10. Proceeds go to the Sarjeant Gallery Redevelopment Fund. What a wonderful idea and a generous one.
The subject of this film was our own Edith Collier, and Kevin and Melita had invited its director, the well-respected film creator Michael Heath, to be there and answer questions after we had watched Village By The Sea.
It was obvious that all involved in the making of this film shared Michael's love of and respect for this woman. By travelling to Ireland, to the small, poor but beautiful southern coastal village of Bunmahon, through his documentary, he allowed us to capture the atmosphere of this place, the evocative atmosphere which consumed Edith and inspired the paintings, sketches and prints she created there. Staying in Bunmahon with a group of young artists, at the beginning of World War I, she expressed great love for the place and its inhabitants through her work. Many of the portraits were familiar to me as many of them are held today here in the Sarjeant Gallery.
Part of the film involved endearing interviews with present inhabitants of the village. Edith is virtually unknown in the area today and there is very little remembered of her time there. Photographer Stephen Latty showed us magnificent, quite breathtaking views of the coast and the crumbling cottages, the beauty of the natural surroundings. Fading often into her paintings of these same areas 100 years ago, we link in our minds the "then and now". Both the scenery and the characters who lived there at that time and were painted by Edith, are mirrored in similar colours and cleverly lit views of the present inhabitants and surroundings as captured by Stephen. Edith, Michael and Stephen unite us with the present and past Bunmahon and take us closer to the genius of Edith Collier.
It is hoped that there will be a small museum established in the little Irish village where prints or, at times, originals of her work can be viewed by locals and tourists alike, thus enlarging her reputation. This, no doubt, is the second aim of this enjoyable film. I loved every minute of it.
Kevin and Melita have already raised $700 from the showing of two films. We should support these evenings, not only for our own enjoyment, but to encourage such altruistic Whanganuiites. As Kevin said to me, the screenings allow "an audience to fall into the films, and albeit for an hour or so, forget the other world around them and let thoughtful stories envelope eyes, ears and minds".
MIKE: For the recent Vintage Weekend, Fine Arts Gallery presented an exhibition which, I am pleased to say, has been extended until the end of this month. Nine artists are represented, in various media and styles of composition, offering something for all tastes to enjoy. I might well have termed them the Nine Muses, were it not for the fact that two members of the male persuasion are featured, Craig Hooker and Jim Norris. Craig's work consists of two oils on board, Student, a young lady perched on a window ledge, reading a book, and At the Beach, where two youngsters are racing over the sand towards the sea. The three works by Jim are all quite different, one a pencil drawing of a pair of ballet slippers, another an oil of a blonde and a postcard from America, the third a sculpture, Encantadora, fashioned from Oamaru stone.
Michelle Colson has produced a large body of work, mainly of smaller items such as coasters and place mats, plus others of multifarious shapes, styles and media — all very pleasing. Skill at pencil drawing is Lindsay Marsh's signature format, and I particularly enjoyed the gentle and genteel lady of advanced years. The artist's statement by Marie Grice tells us she finds "the greatest pleasure in painting birds and farm animals," as evidenced by her extremely lifelike oils and pastels. A passion for fabric and thread underpins the sewing and stitching of Pamela Lilburn, her mixed media including a remarkable number of tiny coloured beads, shaped into flowers and rosettes. Amla Meijer, whose recent painting of a swan at Virginia Lake, facing the fountain, was published in the local press, has exercised her talent for jewellery in this exhibition. Water colours, oils and pencil drawings are exhibited by the versatile Gaynor Mulholland, and the group is completed by Julie Laird. Two small boxes, which she created with delicacy and precision, seemed as if they should hold an interesting back story, which would be interesting to hear. Her work which most appealed to me was that of a sheep shearer, Grinding the Combs. Using acrylic on rimu, Julie has fashioned an item of strength and solidity, possessing a genuine integrity.
The exhibition definitely has my recommendation for a visit.
JOAN: My first visit to the Masters Games Centre was last Sunday when I went along to the Memorial Hall to support the ladies from my tap classes, Sylvia's Tappers. I was so impressed by the layout there in the forecourt where there were lots of comfortable tables and chairs, the quite amazing portable bar, every possible tempting food and drink and a cheery, personal welcome from a fellow Geordie as I entered the area.
The day was devoted to Dancesport and I was enthralled by the many competing dancers. All forms of dance were covered and the quality of the entrants was remarkable. Ladies in beautiful dresses in beautiful colours were matched by elegant gentlemen. The music was nostalgic and well-chosen for each mood portrayed. Mingled with the old-time, ballroom and new vogue competitions were jive, novelty and formation performances, slick and so well performed.
It was great to cheer on our local tappers' routine, There's No Business Like Show Business, and they were great! I felt nervous for them and felt even more so when the music was incorrect and they had to wait to begin. Like real troopers, they waited in position and then danced with confidence and joy. I am biased, I admit, but there appeared to be no age ranges for their category, unlike the other groupings and our ladies were certainly older than their opponents. They did themselves proud.
Deadline for our article meant I had to miss the presentations, but that wasn't as important to me as the real pleasure the day brought. Congratulations to all participants and the behind-the-scenes workers. Another reason for us to feel pride in our lovely city.
Here's to a successful week.
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