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Mōrena Gizzy Local whānau,

Our local visual arts community is really humming along at the moment. Every week lately new exhibitions have opened, and this evening will be no different, with exhibitions opening at both the Tairāwhiti Museum and Paul Nache, by Margaret Hansen and Melanie Tangaere Baldwin respectively. 

Last night Hoea Gallery opened an exhibition too, although it was possibly quite different to your average ‘Opening Night’. This one, up for just today and tomorrow, showcases the work Hoea! have been doing with tamariki from Pickering Kindergarten and the JRD and Rewanui Early Childhood Learning Centres.

I love the way in which the Hoea Gallery wāhine are building such a fun and inclusive approach to art making. A few weeks ago I took my daughters in for a look at the exhibition at the time, Korou, and before I knew it Rangi had them both carving out printing blocks, rolling them with glossy blue ink and printing them in the beautiful old printing press that sits in the Hoea! kitchen.

While we were in Whāngarei over the holidays we checked out an exhibition by school kids at the Hihiaua Cultural Centre. I noticed my girls were way more engaged than they usually are checking out adult art. They took time reading the child-written captions and based on the conversations we had afterwards, spent time trying to figure out the process of the artists, imagining how they themselves might have done it.

My daughters are growing up with such a different attitude to creativity to that which I absorbed as a child in the ’80s. In those days, you either had it or you didn’t, whereas these days kids are just as likely to say they want to be an artist or a performer when they grow up as they are anything else. This of course hasn’t happened by chance and it’s people like Melanie, Rangi and Nikora at Hoea! Gallery that are empowering this continued transformation in attitudes, beliefs and abilities. So collect up the kids, your moko, nieces, nephews or friends’ kids and take them along for a look.

Meanwhile, I continue to hesitate with my brush poised over my fresh white canvas, so paralysed I am by my own long-held beliefs that I am most certainly not a painter, and nor can I draw. Luckily an impending deadline will soon force my hand.

I hope you enjoy a weekend of creativity and sunshine!
Sarah 

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