Events worth noting around the country
Words: Ann Warnock
Reuben Paterson: The Golden Bearing
To 27 July, Pukekura Park, New Plymouth
A life-sized, gold-glittered, hand-sculpted tree set in a public park is artist Reuben Paterson’s catalyst for questioning ideas about artificiality, reality, the natural environment and diverse cultural relationships with land and flora. Known for his paintings in glitter and diamond dust, Paterson’s new four-metre-high installation is his largest sculpture to date.
Phone (06) 759 6060, govettbrewster.com
Burster Flipper Wobbler Dripper Spinner Stacker Shaker Maker
To 28 September, ArtBox CPIT – corner Madras & St Asaph Streets, Christchurch
Morphing pencil sculptures, stretchy paint skins, gravity-defying stacks and videos of exploding paint balloons are amongst the quirky works in a show which seeks to explore the shape-shifting, experimental and seriously playful mission of making art. Artists including Rebecca Baumann, Mark Braunias, Jill Kennedy, Judy Darragh and Miranda Parkes demonstrate the excitement of transforming ordinary artefacts in unexpected ways. Phone
(03) 941 7300, christchurchartgallery.org.nz
Ongoing, Park Terrace, east of Hagley Park, Christchurch
Street lamps from Belgrade in Serbia, Kurashiki in Japan, Sydney, Adelaide and Dusseldorf have been installed on Park Terrace in the first stage of an art installation by German artist Mischa Kuball which focuses on the act of giving and the positive symbolism of light. Over the next three years a total of 21 street lights, each gifted by a different country, will be added to the installation in a gesture of global solidarity as Christchurch recovers and rebuilds post-quake.
My Country: Contemporary Art from Black Australia
To 20 July, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki
Contemporary indigenous Australian art comes to the fore in a survey of 100 works by 40 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists in the largest exhibition of its kind to be shown in Aotearoa. Provocative and sensitive drawings, photographs, films, carvings, paintings and installations explore key themes of history, politics and the physical landscape. The artistic line-up includes Vernon Ah Kee, Richard Bell, Bindi Cole, Fiona Foley, Mirdidingkingathi Juwarrnda Sally Gabori, Tony Albert and film maker Warwick Thornton.
Phone (09) 379 1349, aucklandartgallery.com
Safety in Numbers
To 13 July, Rotorua Museum Te Whare Taonga o Te Arawa
Expect the unexpected – a flock of pigeons roosting in the museum’s attic, bejewelled rodents in its halls, a platoon of soldiers climbing its walls and extraordinary life forms growing in its basement – as Tauranga-based ceramic artist John Roy highlights the overlooked spaces in public buildings displaying art. His large-scale installations use unpretentious forms which carry multi-layered meanings and subtle social commentaries.
Phone (07) 350 1814, rotoruamuseum.co.nz
Away and Towards
10 May to 4 June, Milford Galleries Dunedin
Spanning a 34-year period (1978-2012) in the creative pathway of Southland artist Nigel Brown, Away and Towards is a landmark show of 40 works, the majority sourced from the artist’s own private collection and some of which have never before been seen in public. Brown’s distinctive practice of bold symbolism encapsulates Aotearoa’s historic and cultural landscape and the longevity of rich text and imagery in his work.
Phone (03) 477 7727, milfordgalleries.co.nz
Dr Felkin and the Forerunners: visions of utopia, 1900-1930
16 May to 2 November, MTG Hawke’s Bay, Napier
British-born Dr Robert William Felkin, medicine man, missionary and personal physician to the King of Uganda, was an influential leader in one of the world’s most important occult movements, the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, which he brought to Havelock North from England in 1912. The exhibition reveals the resonance of Dr Felkin’s spiritual practice in a small community and probes a local example of a global story about utopian movements, the invention of gurus and humanity’s hope at the dawn of the 20th century.
Phone (06) 835 7781, mtghawkesbay.com
Fortune Theatre celebrates its 40th anniversary this year with a wickedly funny, true story about the limits of self deception. Souvenir traverses the musical career of Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York socialite and tone-deaf diva who became a legend for singing badly and whose vocation peaked with a sold-out show at Carnegie Hall in 1944. Seen through the eyes of her devoted accompanist, American pianist and composer Cosmé McMoon, the play is a comic tribute to Ms Jenkins’ sincerity, deep love of music, lack of talent and cult following.
Phone (03) 477 8323, fortunetheatre.co.nz
Masterclass with Dame Kiri Te Kanawa
A rare behind-the-scenes opportunity to witness Dame Kiri in a role she relishes – mentoring six young singers in a special masterclass staged by the New Zealand Singing School: Te Wananga Toi Waiata of which she is inaugural patron. During three hours guests will have an opportunity to observe as the young talents perform and Dame Kiri imparts her wisdom and expertise.
Auckland Festival of Photography
Auckland goes camera crazy as it salutes the power of photography in a city-wide celebration showcasing images by emerging and established artists and snap-happy novices. More than 90 exhibitions are staged across 80 venues from formal galleries to pop-up spaces, arcades, libraries, shopping centres and cafés. The action includes the annual Nikon Auckland Photo Day, a chance to train the lens on the city and its communities to capture a City of Sails moment. The images are added to the festival’s archive collated over the last decade.
Phone (09) 307 7055, photographyfestival.org.nz
A programme of chamber music is delivered by an acclaimed ensemble in an historic church which has survived the Christchurch earthquakes almost unscathed. Led by NZSO associate concertmaster Donald Armstrong, the group consists of principal players with the NZSO and Aotearoa’s leading chamber musicians. The programme includes Two Pieces for String Octet, Op.11 by Shostakovich and string octets by George Enescu and Mendelssohn.
Phone (03) 963 0870, courttheatre.org.nz
Promise and Promiscuity – Breeches, Bonnets and Big Balls
“Follow the fortunes of Miss Elspeth Slowtree of superior wit and blushing countenance as she battles literary snobbery, her mother’s nerves and Cousin Horatio. Balls will be attended, crosses stitched and manners minded with not an ankle in sight.” A fast-paced musical romp written and performed by Kiwi comedian Penny Ashton with a good dollop of help from the late Jane Austen, the show tours with the Arts On Tour NZ Trust which delivers music and theatre to remote and rural corners of Aotearoa.
Wellington Jazz Festival on Cuba
Billed as the hottest little jazz festival in the coolest little capital, a mid-winter cultural fix in the city’s hip Cuba Quarter takes away the chill as Kiwi and international jazz acts strut their stuff and local streets throng. Leading the line-up is the American multiple Grammy Award-winning duo of jazz, pianist and composer Chick Corea with vibraphonist Gary Burton.
Reading Shakespeare: King Lear
Shakespeare’s King Lear brims with the pitfalls of family relationships, the challenges of old age, the corruption of power and the responsibilities of kingship. These, along with the genius of the dramatist himself, are examined as Shakespeare specialist Janet Secker probes “the complacency of Lear and the Duke of Gloucester in the early stage of the play and how Shakespeare takes them on a bleak journey of discovery about the frailty of both their inner and outer worlds”.
Phone (04) 463 6556, victoria.ac.nz/conted
In partnership with the State Opera of South Australia and Opera Queensland, NZ Opera rolls out a lavish production of the world’s most-performed opera with a cast that includes Australian soprano Lorina Gore as Violetta, fellow countryman Samuel Sakker as her lover and Scottish baritone David Stephenson as Giorgio Germont. Verdi’s famous tale of a beautiful, fragile Parisian courtesan is peppered with reckless love, family strife and self sacrifice.
Written by young Matamata-born playwright Thomas Sainsbury, Sunday Roast is a black comedy negotiating the rough terrain of love, values and sibling rivalry. “Expect a wicked satire with physical mayhem and delectable gastronomic whiplash,” says Auckland’s Silo Theatre whose two actors, Adam Gardiner and Toni Potter, seamlessly switch between a variety of characters. Father’s on carving duty; Mother is on vegetables. Squabbling sisters Courtney and Diane are whipping dessert into a frenzy as the Giles clan gathers for a meal and the knives are razor sharp.
New Zealand International Science Festival
5 to 14 July, Dunedin
In a celebration of the world of innovation, invention, scientific discipline, knowledge and creativity, the festival rolls out street science, science workshops and scientific merriment in a programme which peeks into the great unknown and encourages a fresh view of the world. Big names in the sphere of science entertainment include English stunt scientist Dr Bunhead (aka Tom Pringle), praised in the Daily Telegraph “for turning the science curriculum into a burning, bubbling, exploding ball of fun”.
Phone (03) 474 9256, scifest.org.nz