150 years of art history in exhibition

Robin Jones, from Christchurch, front, and Reywa  Brown, from Moeraki, hang a piece of history...
Robin Jones, from Christchurch, front, and Reywa Brown, from Moeraki, hang a piece of history for a new art exhibition in Hampden. Photo by Andrew Ashton.

Research carried out by Hampden art lovers has brought together more than 150 years of the area's history that might otherwise never have been seen by local residents.

A new exhibition put together by the Hampden Presbyterian Community Church and Cultural Centre would display reproductions of art works made by visitors to Hampden and Moeraki during the past 165 years, and co-organiser Alison MacTavish said items had been reproduced from museums and galleries around New Zealand.

''Artists come along and they spend a little time here but then go away, and local people never see them.

''The people who visited our area and recorded what they saw with an image makes for amazing viewing. They were people of all sorts, from Sir William Fox, four times Premier of New Zealand, through surveyor John Turnbull Thomson to painter Frances Hodgkins, and they all used their drawing talents for different reasons. But they all tell fascinating stories about what they saw and why they were here.''

She added that researching the artworks had been ''fascinating'' and had located some ''very exciting'' pieces, including a painting of a train on the Moeraki branch line, which operated for only two years in the 1800s.

There was also a painting of the Waianakarua River bridge by John Turnbull Thomson, made before the bridge was built.

''He painted it, they built it, and we are still going across it - it's amazing.''

Reproduction costs were funded by a $1200 grant from the Community Organisation Grants Scheme, and the reproductions would be put into the community library archives at the end of the exhibition, she said.

''So they are there forever for people to see.''

She said it was hoped the exhibition, which would open today at the Lawson Presbyterian Church in Hampden, would provide both residents and visitors with a ''wet weather activity'' and information about things to explore in the area.

Hampden/Moeraki Promotions Group member Trevor Norton added that a range of historic photographs of the area would also be displayed in the Hampden church hall.

''We're hoping that any old-time residents or visitors will be able to tell us a bit more about the photos.''

Both exhibitions will be open to the public between 2pm and 5pm until January 10.

- andrew.ashton@odt.co.nz

Add a Comment