Hot tip - Heather Straka

BurqaBabe (2012) is one of nine oil on board paintings in the forthcoming "Heather Straka:...
BurqaBabe (2012) is one of nine oil on board paintings in the forthcoming "Heather Straka: Playdate" exhibition at the Nadene Milne Gallery, Arrowtown, opening on November 23. Photo supplied.
Provocative Christchurch artist Heather Straka will discuss how cultural imagery has been appropriated into Western painting before opening her new exhibition in Arrowtown next Friday.

The artist presents nine oil on board paintings in "Heather Straka: Playdate" at the Nadene Milne Gallery.

Straka is hailed as one of New Zealand's most accomplished mid-career artists. She was the 2008 Frances Hodgkins Fellow and the 2011 William Hodges Fellow.

Her work is included in all major public and private collections in New Zealand and she has exhibited widely nationally and internationally. Her public gallery touring show "The Asian" was exhibited to great acclaim.

Before taking up painting as a full-time career, Straka worked as a sculptor in the 1990s and was an assistant to artist Julia Morison. She said she converted to painting when she visited a retrospective on surrealist painter Rene Magritte in Belgium.

Ms Milne said this week Straka's practice focused on producing highly finished contemporary paintings which referenced the traditional genres of portrait, landscape and still-life painting.

"Her works often relate to themes of sexual identity, cultural politics and often include appropriated cultural imagery portrayed in a humorous way," the gallery owner said.

The exhibition will be accompanied by an art talk titled "Lost in Translation: Cultural Appropriation in the Arts".

"The floor talk will contribute to the ongoing dialogue and debate that has been generated by the artist's provocative and culturally assimilated paintings," Ms Milne said.

"Heather Straka will participate in the talk that will include a discussion on aspects of her practice."

The lecture will be held at Dorothy Brown's Cinema on Friday, November 23 at 7pm. Booking is recommended as places are limited (phone (03) 442-1964). An entry fee of $8 per person will cover cinema costs.

• "Heather Straka: Playdate" opens at the gallery (which is next door to the cinema) at 7.45pm and runs until December 9.


Picks of the week

• 3pm and 7pm: Extra chances to watch the Wakatipu's golden history on the silver screen when historical films are replayed in the Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall.

Cheryl Collie will accompany on piano. Footage from the re-enactment of the discovery of gold on the bank of the Arrow River is also on the bill. Entry $5 on the door.

• 7.30pm: The Australian comedian, Heath Franklin, as colourful Melbourne criminal Mark "Chopper" Read sets the world to rights in the Arrowtown Athenaeum Hall.

Tickets $36.90-$39.90 plus booking fee, from Lakes Leisure and Ticketek.


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