Whanganui artist Jason Dufty says he was delighted when Bill Milbank invited him to exhibit his first solo show at his Bell St Gallery.

"I've never done a series of works before," he said.

"My work is usually standalone pieces so I'm grateful to Bill for encouraging me to do this because I've really enjoyed it."

Disappearing Shanghai is based on Dufty's experiences of living in the Chinese city and exploring the ruins of the historic buildings as they are swallowed by the development of modern architecture.

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"I regularly went out exploring the changing city and took lots of photos.

"It was both fascinating and sad to see the way people were being moved from places where families had lived for generations."

Members of the tight-knit communities will receive modest government pay-outs and be dispersed into remote corners of Shanghai Dufty says.

The people are resigned to it he says and use the expression "Mei banfa", meaning "Such is Life."

The works in the exhibitions are combinations of oil on canvas and Dufty has experimented with collage which he says is a new medium for him.

Jason Dufty is holding his first solo exhibition Disappearing Shanghai at Milbank Gallery this week. Photo/Lewis Gardner
Jason Dufty is holding his first solo exhibition Disappearing Shanghai at Milbank Gallery this week. Photo/Lewis Gardner

Of Ngati Hei iwi, Dufty was born and grew up in Auckland where he attained a Bachelor of Graphic Design from AUT.

After doing freelance graphic design work and travelling in Asia and Europe during the late 1990s, he established boutique design company Housewife and Raymon which he ran until 2007.

In 2008, he completed a Post Graduate Diploma of Education and taught visual arts in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

"My wife Kellie is from Whanganui and we moved back here with our two daughters in 2017."

Dufty is teaching design and visual communication at Whanganui High School and shares a studio in the historic wool store on Heads Road with fellow artist and teacher Glen Hutchins and photographer Lewis Gardner.

Disappearing Shanghai: Milbank Gallery, 1b Bell St, Whanganui. Call Bill Milbank 027 628 6877 for viewing times