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Lighting the way this month

Contemporary art space The Physics Room launches its new exhibition from June 10 through to July 25. The ‘Light enough to read by’ exhibition emerged from discussions around the return of The Physics Room’s library into the gallery and to public access. Metropol looks at how the exhibition came about.


Microwave mailbox from the Isle of Lewis, Scotland, shared during research correspondence, 2021. PHOTO Lucy Skaer


For the last three years, since the shift to its current site in the Registry Additions Building, much of the library has sat in boxes.

The specific needs of this shift — sufficient and natural light, space for reading, listening, and resting — offered a script for gallery staff to work within the development of the new exhibition.

Underpinning the project was the idea of the exhibition itself as a form of publication, and ‘text’ as something social, material, and lived, subject to conditions of light and weather.

Works by Fiona Connor, Lucy Skaer, Rachel Shearer and Cathy Livermore open out from these ideas, transforming the gallery.

A metal hare runs, runs, low to the ground, across the wood floor; daylight comes in again and the workshop doorway is open; the gallery breathes like a lung with the names of Waitaha’s winds.

Each of these works rely on dynamic relationships: with grammar and syntax, ko nga hau me nga wai (winds and waters), architecture and light, positive and negative, chase and flight, oxygen and lungs, reader and listener, fabricator and artist, correspondent and recipient, sequence and rest.

While each relates to narrative, none of the works rely on writing itself. A current of questions runs through the exhibition instead.

If written words are not the dominant vehicle for information, what other material languages, voices, histories, and relationships can be held in the gallery space?

How might the site generate alternative forms of ‘reading’, not contingent on words on a page, rather on conditions including light, relationships, oral and material narratives?

The works might be received as a series of speculative responses to these questions.

Light enough to read by is curated by Abby Cunnane, Michelle Wang and Hamish Peterson, and was made possible through the support of the Jan Warburton Trust.


Art to honour locals

A stunning white Ngutu, or ceremonial entranceway, will be a feature of the
Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre. Called Te Aika, which means “the home people”, the artwork recognises the mana of local hapu, Ngāi Tūāhuriri.



Designed by artists Rachael Rakena and Simon Kaan it will be produced by SCAPE Public Art in collaboration with Matapopore, and constructed from aluminium.

Te Aika is a Ngāi Tahu version of the saying, “Te ahi kā”, which translates to “the home fires burning.” The design has been inspired by the distinctive southern maihi, or diagonal bargeboards, on whare on the bansk of the Horotueka (Cam River).

Rakena says the commission was very much a collaboration with Ngāi Tūāhuriri and their aspirations.

“It was important for us as artists to ensure that the outcome reflected their mana and whakapapa of place,” she says.

Kaan says public artworks, if successful, have the ability to help form a collective understanding of a place and its people.

“It has been a great process working together and supporting each other through what is such a complex project. It has been a privilege to work on such a prominent public artwork for Ōtautahi, which we hope Ngāi Tahu whānui and the public of Aotearoa can embrace.

Other influences for the art include: the kōtuku, which is considered a good omen; karanga weaving imagery as a tribute to Ngāi Tūāhuriri wāhine; the kahu huruhuru or cloak as a symbol of welcome, warmth, mana and protection; and Te Ao Mārama or world of life and light, which in turn refers to wisdom and understanding.

Matapopore Trustee Lynne-Harata Te Aika says the design is based on the whare of Aperehama Te Aika which was located at Kaiapoi near where the former Kaiapoi Woollen Mills site is today and sketched by Charles Haubroe in 1855

“Ngāi Tūāhuriri are proud to see a modern-day version of the entranceway replicated in Te Pae’s courtyard design.”

Event visitors will gather at Te Aika for formal cultural ceremonies and be welcomed into the venue through the entranceway.

Te Aika is likely to begin to be installed mid-year. Supported by Creative New Zealand, Te Aika has also received industry sponsorship from Kirk Roberts Engineers, RCP and Beca.
Construction of the $475 million

Te Pae Christchurch Convention Centre is expected to be completed by the middle of this year, with events expected to begin in the second half of the year.

Te Pae will have capacity to host up to 2000 delegates for a variety of national and international events across world-class purpose-built facilities including a 1400 seat auditorium, up to 2800 square metres of exhibition space and 24 meeting rooms.


Hotere comes to town

A free exhibition of one of New Zealand’s most important artists is showing at Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū. Ralph Hotere: Ātete (to resist) is co-curated by Christchurch Art Gallery and Dunedin Public Art Gallery and brings together works from collections across the country.



Photo: Ralph Hotere in The Artist’s Studio, Port Chalmers 1979, by Marti Friedlander. From the collection of Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū, purchased 1998. Courtesy of the Gerrard and Marti Friedlander Charitable Trust.



Christchurch Art Gallery Director Blair Jackson says the exhibition has been a huge project to bring together.

“Hotere’s art is enormously significant in Aotearoa – particularly now in these politically charged days,” he says.

“It’s been more than 20 years since the last survey of his work, and we’re pleased to be able to show so many of these important and deeply meaningful works to a new generation.

“The show charts Hotere’s journeys throughout Aotearoa and the world, and is a reflection of his experiences, identity, concerns and politics. It includes formative abstraction, strident works of protest and landmark works such as Black Phoenix and Godwit/Kuaka.”

The exhibition has already been on display in Dunedin – where Hotere lived for many years. Blair says the exhibition has sparked many visitors to share their own memories of the places, moments and issues that feature in his work.

“I’m sure it will have the same effect on those that visit here in Ōtautahi,” he says.

It runs until July 25, and is free to attend.


Giving the gift of art and framing: Windsor Gallery

So, you’re getting married – congratulations! If you’re like many other couples who already have a home and its contents, why not consider something extra special, like your own piece of art or beautiful framing for all your wedding photos?



At Windsor Gallery, couples can start a wedding registry for artwork, framing for their special memories of the day – and even framing the wedding dress!

Displaying beautiful art from local and international artists, Windsor Gallery is home to a rich variety of artwork and wedding guests can gift the bride and the groom with a magnificent artwork from the showroom, a commissioned piece, a custom-made mirror, or the couple can take advantage of the bespoke framing service.

Windsor Gallery for art and framing you can be proud of.

386 St Asaph Street | (03) 366 0724 |


Street art brings depth

In a city resplendent with street art, the newest mural adorning the back of Riverside Market rises to the challenge of bringing something new. This depiction of a row of heritage shops is painted onto a flat façade, yet tricks the eyes into seeing a multi-dimensional historical scene.



The project was produced by George Shaw of Oi YOU! and painted in six weeks by local graffiti art collective, DTR Crew – Dcypher, Ikarus, Jacob Yikes & Wongi Wilson.
The mural was co-funded by Riverside Market and ChristchurchNZ, and is the largest and most complex ever delivered in the city.


The joy of painting: Art Metro

An art school, gallery and supply store, Art Metro helps make Canterbury the creative place it is. Metropol sits down with Malene Reynolds Laugesen to ask a few questions about her teaching role at the Papanui studio.



“About two years ago. I mainly teach oil and acrylics and teach three adult evening classes and one children’s afternoon class. Seeing the boost people get when a painting they’ve been struggling with starts to fall into place gives me the most job satisfaction.”

“It’s very relaxed. People chat amongst each other, and long-time students are really good at encouraging new students, who are often trying painting for the first time.”

“I’ve become fascinated with art history and the idea of curatorial work. I’d like to find a way to continue pursuing these and to find a balance between teaching and my own art practice. I think the two things feed into and complement each other. Painting, for me, creates a deep sense of joy, which I try to bring into teaching. Teaching also compels you to look more closely at your own practice and technique, which is a good challenge.”

Van Gogh-ing places

The borders might be closed, but that isn’t stopping one the world’s most famous and influential artists setting up shop in Christchurch. He may no longer be alive, but Vincent van Gogh’s work will be resurrected in a multi-sensory event.


Van Gogh Alive has received rave reviews from around the world, as the artist’s timeless masterpiece are projected onto every surface of an exhibition space – taking viewers quite literally inside the artist’s work.

An evocative classical music score adds even more atmosphere to the event, which showcases thousands of the Dutch artist’s post-impressionist landscapes, still lifes, portraits and self-portraits.

Christchurch is just one of three New Zealand cities to host the event which has been highly acclaimed the world over, receiving kudos from The Guardian, The Sydney Morning Herald, Forbes, and others during tours of Shanghai, Rome, Dubai, Paris and many more.

While much of the world remains in lockdown, not only are local art lovers lucky to attend any public event – but they can also see the European cities which inspired Van Gogh, through his eyes.

Created by Australian Bruce Peterson, the idea came around when he was living in Europe and taking his children to incredible museums, only for them to get bored five minutes in.

Van Gogh Alive has been created to engage audiences of all ages and all levels of interest in art.

Works on display include The Starry Night, his vivid nightscape of the sky from his bedroom in an asylum; a collection of self-portraits; Irises, and many more.

The exhibition includes those inspired by his time spent in Netherlands, Arles, Saint Rémy and Auvers-sur-Oise.


Live Nation New Zealand Managing Director Mark Kneebone says the event is for all ages, and has been set-up to allow for contact-free and socially distanced viewing.

“Over six million people around the world have experienced this incredible immersive experience, including sold out seasons across Australia. We can’t wait to share the magic of Van Gogh with Kiwis in 2021.”

On now until March 19 at the Air Force Museum of New Zealand, Wigram. Buy tickets at


Putting pen to paper: Art by J Steel

An artist’s impression and portrait of the home is how Jonathan Steel of Art by J Steel would describe his style of client work.



Having a passion for line and wash drawings – a combination of pen, ink, and watercolour – “gives the art a certain character”, he believes.

For the two-to-three-week process Jonathan will source a photograph of the property, draw, and then paint the home. He can also give art that finishing touch by framing it.

Whether it is an old family home or a new forever one – he captures its essence on paper.

Contact Jonathan for a commission on 021 038 7706 or email Or visit his website for limited prints of Christchurch landmarks.


Getting personal: Zelmar Creations

If you are looking to get a gift for that special someone that reflects how much they mean to you – make it personal. Lezel Broodryk of Zelmar Creations works her magic to ensure your gift is truly one of a kind.



“Clients are loving the fact we can customise our products. One of our most loved products are our family trees,” she says.

Normally taking five to seven days, cake toppers, money boxes, keyrings or even night lights can be crafted for customers. And everything is locally made in New Zealand.

Visit the store in Northlands Mall on Main North Road. To get in touch email or phone 027 205 0460.


Hugo’s Hanmer holiday: Tait Gallery

Tait Gallery at Hanmer Springs has a beautiful selection of ceramics, pottery, glassware, wood turning and jewellery, as well as a large display of pictures by artists both emerging and established.



The portfolio includes landscapes by Tony Roche, Ross Lee, Debbie Lambert, Karen Werner, Charles Pickworth, Jane Riley and Jane Sinclair; water colours by Svetlana Orinko, Ivan Button and Devon Huston; acrylics by Michelle Green and Rob Barton; a wide range of prints and framed photos by Indigo Wise, David Shepherd, Ian Gardiner, Sarah Power and Bryan Isbister; mixed media by the award winning Jo Loughnan, and Jill Cowan; abstracts by Paul Smith, Rae Manson and Joe Wiseman; copper creations by David Kean, and Bulldog Hugo by Sue Lund.

Visit Hanmer Springs for your Christmas shopping and enjoy the relaxed atmosphere of an alpine village that now boasts four galleries! No fast food centres or shopping malls here…
just lots of fresh air and sunshine, along with friendly faces to help and advise!
Gallery hours: 10am to 4pm most days over the Christmas holiday period.

34 Conical Hill Road, Hanmer Springs, phone
027 4325 914 or email