A trio of artists will open new exhibitions Space Studio and Gallery in Whanganui next week.

Emma Cunningham's Remedy, Katie Shand's Unfurl and Jennie De Groot's Rites of Passage promise an interesting range of multi-media, photographic, and painted works.

Cunningham's works celebrate the botanical remedies produced by French Catholic nun Suzanne Aubert.

"I am fascinated by her story and how she used her family inheritance to buy a farm at Hiruharama (Jerusalem) on the banks of the Whanganui River in the 1880s.


"With the help of the local women she created several herbal remedies using plants from the surrounding Whanganui bush and in 1891 she licensed her remedies to a drug company."

The remedies gained rave reviews but Aubert, who was known affectionately as "Meri" to locals, learned that her medicines had become ineffective because the drug company had started diluting them.

"According to legend, Suzanne was so outraged she threw her remaining stock in the river and destroyed her recipes," Cunningham said.

Katie Shand has made a departure from the art she is known for in Whanganui with her Unfurl exhibition.

After building her reputation as a textile artist and completing her stunning embroidered street art at the entrance to the Whanganui Community Arts Centre she has made a foray into photography and graduated as a prize-winning student from UCOL.

Shand recently experienced personal loss with the illness and death of her mother which has influenced her recent work.

"This photographic exhibition explores the process of enduring a painful transition, feeling a loss of meaning, and a shedding of our sense of self," she said.

"Although painful, such a breakdown leaves space for new growth, for a deepening understanding of life, our place in it, ourselves."


Many of the works in Unfurl are self-portraits where Shand has used backdrops of bare white walls and adornments of foraged natural garments.

"The use of nature within the pieces communicates such growth, what goes on under the surface before it can be seen as a seed grows in darkness.

"The process is slow, messy, and incredibly vulnerable."

Waikato artist Jennie De Groot will hold her first Whanganui exhibition at Space Studio and Gallery next week. Photo / Supplied
Waikato artist Jennie De Groot will hold her first Whanganui exhibition at Space Studio and Gallery next week. Photo / Supplied

Jennie De Groot's Rites of Passage also has themes of regrowth in her selection of oil paintings.

Exhibiting in Whanganui for the first time, De Groot's works are inspired by the landscapes that surround her rural Ngāhinapōuri home in the Waipa District on the outskirts of Hamilton.

Remedy, Unfurl and Rites of Rites of Passage: Space Studio & Gallery, 18 Saint Hill St, showing from June 10 until June 20.