It is always a delight when what you thought was something turns out to be something even better than you had anticipated. Like unwrapping the most exciting Christmas gift you’ve ever received that’s been covered in recycled newspaper.
I should have known when it said “welding” it meant metal sculpture. The fact that this wonderful exhibition of the work of students of the Bachelor of Creative Industries was presented within The Incubator Gallery was the clue – in fact the give away (as was the tiny printing under the exhibition title which I missed). But no I went because I thought it would be something entirely different.
I own a small, badly fabricated metal stool my late father made during one of those much maligned “school holidays”. He must have been working in another of those supplemental factory jobs that teachers and students undertook. Either this was done for fun or it was an opportunity to return to those days of the Barrow-in-Furness shipyard. I think this is why, tired from mowing the paddock lines, I decided I had to go down to the Historic Village to see the “welding”.
I also thought I’d be meeting a different group of Toi Ohomai students – and I did. But not because they were welders but because they were BCI students who had chosen this as a degree elective.
The Incubator walls and floor are crowded in the best way possible with metal-works of all sizes and styles. There are pieces which would be comfortable in any home and others that would support the image and style of a professional office. There is work which would make Christmas 2018 memorable for someone. There is outdoor sculpture.
The exhibition is like everything I see at the Incubator – if I had the money I’d need a storage unit to keep all the works I want to own. And they are “cheap” – and that means I think for what they are they are many are significantly under-priced.
Just as I was frequently told “you don’t look like a lawyer” – what does an artist look like? I’m always inspired and uplifted by the people I meet and last night perhaps the most inspiring artist I met was the mature women who shared her “now or never” story of joining the BCI course. Yes she looks like someone’s wonderful, conventional, neat and tidy grandmother. Does she look like an artist? Just remember Pablo Picasso and Charlie Chaplin. And of course one of the topics we discuss is how the BCI will give her new career opportunities. Her participation is not a vanity project.
I’m also always inspired by the number of mature students who attend events with their young children. I can only imagine the added pressures being a parent and a student must present. Last night I ask one of them to take me round the work displayed by her mother – she’s an accomplished gallery guide. Another is bursting with pride as I photograph one of the outdoor works and tells me repeatedly “my Mum did that”. I can already see the multi-generation influence of Toi Ohomai and the BCI.
The tutor for this sculpture course is the well-known, Tauranga-based Nic Clegg. The exhibition and the diversity of style on show is a credit to Nic’s own arts practice and teaching skills. Nic must be particularly proud of this exhibition of his student’s work.
The exhibition at The Incubator Gallery closes on Saturday 22nd December 2018.
Rosemary Balu. Rosemary Balu is the founding and current Managing Editor of ARTbop. Rosemary has arts and law degrees from the University of Auckland. She has been a working lawyer and has participated in a wide variety of community activities where information gathering, submission writing, community advocacy and education have been involved. Interested in all forms of the arts since childhood Rosemary is focused on further developing and expanding multi-media ARTbop as the magazine for all the creative arts in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand.
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