The Janus Factor: 2017 reflected


The arts in the Bay of Plenty are acknowledged and supported (despite the often negative and unkind community comments in local media). They are an important and integral part of the life of the Bay’s communities. ARTbop has once again benefited from the generosity of spirit of these creative and wider communities and received support from all sorts of people. It’s the unexpected I remember.

Toi Ohomai: If you ever want your soul refreshed or your confidence in the young reinforced; go along to any of the Bachelor of Creative Industries student exhibitions. In 2017 I’ve been privileged to attend a number of the year’s exhibitions of portfolio work. All stunning confirmation of the value of this degree course to the economy, the talent of the students and the inherent worth of the degree.  Image below from MADE.

The sculpture gardens created by Rotorua sculptors Joe Kemp and Trevor Nathan. A privileged insight into the disparate styles of work of these two talented creatives. Both of these creatives have developed a “setting” in which they display their own work and the work of fellow artists. Both sculpture parks exemplify the way Bay of Plenty creatives are, with their own resources, providing opportunities for arts tourism (local and international).The talented Joe Kemp Part of the cathedral-like sculpture experience created by Joe Kemp and his family

A small part of the sculpture park being created by Trevor Nathan and his family

AOT Art of Technology: an innovative creative venture that deserves ongoing support and a place to stand. The Clode family and associates are contributing to the development and support of arts and creativity. And when I’m trundling through the back streets of Greerton a young man on his way home from school cycles by, stops and comes back. It’s Clode the younger, who greets me and checks I’m the person he meets at arts events.

Clode the younger and Pauline Clode

The big-little gallery at Taneatua. In an unprepossessing former traditional New Zealand house the gallery is a little jewel in this Bay of Plenty hinterland.

I met Antony Warnes some years ago at Forta Leeza: an introduction and a rapid conversation. I watch as he sits on the old Incubator armchair, leaning over the large wooden coffee table creating small works while a retrospective exhibition of a life of creativity hangs in the Incubator gallery. I’m totally blown away when I’m given a small, signed piece of his work.

The Whakamarama Community Centre: the Whakamarama Hall is where we are asked to show up to practice singing to support the formal presentation of a newly carved Hall sign. A small group stands by the old stage and we’re led through repetitions which become more confident and joyful with every version. I’m told that there is a proposal for the Tauranga City Council to sell off some of its halls. Why I ask myself would you start selling off community focus at a time when communities all around the Western Bay of Plenty and Tauranga are growing?

The energy and effort of the alternative creative community. Pushing boundaries.

Members of that band Legion of Dissent: Dhaivat Mehta and Kingsley Smith

An alternative creative pair in cafe mode

John Baxter and a Tauranga Arts Festival “tree”

The poetry and spoken words of Simone Kaho which did more than resonate with me and the memorable afternoon at the Incubator listening to local poets, Simone and Shane Hollands. I keep my signed copy of Kaho’s Lucky Punch complete with the poet’s paper markers, in daily sight.

The Koula Collection: Before Christmas I walked into Zeus Gallery on Marsh Street, Tauranga. The gallery is a literal Aladin’s cave of art and style exhibiting the works acquired and collected by Koula and Theo Vellinga. I was privileged to visit the former Vellinga home earlier in the year. I’d seen quantities of handmade carpets and sculpture but nothing prepared me for the sight of the closely hung work currently displayed at Zeus. Reminiscent of a wall of diverse paintings I’d seen earlier this year in the Queensland Art Gallery in Brisbane the effect in the smaller space of Zeus is amazing. Open at Zeus until 20th January 2018. Check for the opening days and hours  Art and sculpture were everywhere in the Vellinga home

The Mockers

Gentlemen of music. It was a back together again tour. They should do it again.

Ria Hall. While I was mesmerised by the Baycourt performance of Rules of Engagement I was emotionally moved by the simple Hall and choir performance on the Tauranga waterfront which opened the 2017 Tauranga Arts Festival. Hall and Tracey Tawhiao represent the strong Maori creative arts peer group of Tauranga now overtly making their style and presence felt across all genres of creativity.

The calm of the Tauranga Waterfront

The beautiful Ria Hall leads the choir

Creative cousins Ria Hall and Tracey Tawhiao after the performance of Rules of Engagement

Paora Tiatoa I visit the pre-Christmas TOI pop up exhibition and retail space on Elizabeth Street to once again view the stunning internationally acclaimed work of Shona Tawhiao. Accompanied by “Maori art” of many styles what I instantly “want for Christmas” is the work of Shona’s partner Paora. A child of Northland his work is political and satirical. It won’t appeal to everyone particularly those who have a traditionally focused idea of “maori art”. It’s the art of a contemporary Maori and it’s the art of contemporary New Zealand. Lotto are you listening?

Margaret Carter talented fabric creative who takes the time to show me how to find the opening to “heirloom” knitted toys. A washed and re-stuffed Mr Piggy and Ducky knitted by Great-Great Aunty Winnie are ready for another generation.

Sunshine sanitising Mr Piggy and Mr Duck (who is actually a brown penguin!

The personal creativity and talent of the staff of Tauranga Libraries. Anyone who states that we don’t need libraries has obviously never set foot in one of the currently operating Tauranga City or Western Bay of Plenty libraries.

The people of Edgecumbe whom I met and who asked me to write about what happened (and is still happening) to them.

Peter Biggs and Maungatapu Marae Arts Strategy Hui where I heard Peter Biggs and then reading (and still reading) KPMG Magnet cities Decline-Fightback-Victory.

Jenny Argante and Tauranga Writers Inc. commemorative year. An organisation which has supported and promoted the development of written creativity in the region.

The pou whenua erected at the Puketoki Reserve to acknowledge the conflict in the district of Whakamarama: Te Weranga ki Whakamarama

Guilielma and David Dowrick as representatives of the generosity and determination of the pre-gallery Tauranga community to develop and support a gallery and creativity in the district.

Tauranga arts patron and donor Mrs David Dowrick

The 10th Anniversary function at the Tauranga Art Gallery. I’ve been to numerous events and openings around the town. I’m always impressed by the effort and care taken by artists, their families and supporters to provide a social event and networking opportunity in conjunction with the presentation of their work. I’m entranced by the “old master” style of presentation of the marquee buffet table of the 10th year acknowledgement of the Tauranga Art Gallery.

Youth Symphonia Tauranga

Don’t Judge Me; John Adams and his cohort of talent performing in the rain at the Wynyard Quarter.

 Who knew Katikati artist, writer and poet Birgitt Shannon was a talented arts reporter and videographer. Not me. I’ve always been impressed by the control and presentation of Birgitt’s instantly recognisable painting style qualities she’s transferred to the promotional videos she’s made for ARTbop and the Affordable Art and Artisan Fair and the Black Sheep, Whakamarama

Birgitt Shannon in her gallery gazebo at the Art & Artisan Fair

The Black Sheep Whakamarama, National Poetry Day 2017 and the site of the Affordable Art & Artisan Fairs

Tau Mohio meeting a member of the young entrepreneur scheme from Otumoetai College

Otumoetai College YES team’s interactive Te Reo Maori learning tool

Youth Philharmonic Tauranga Wonderful to see this developing musical entity under the baton on Bay of Plenty Symphonia Justus Rozemond. Fabulous training ground for young musicians irrespective of ultimate musical performance genre. Looking forward to 2018 concerts.

The Youth Philharmonic Tauranga awaits its conductor…

And no year would be complete without another mention of the cross cultural Christmas trees in Downtown Tauranga

Tauranga artist Michelle Estall’s contemporary take on the traditional hei tiki form

Me and Parewhati Taikato (Pare has started her own arts consultancy)

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.

AND WHILE YOU’RE HERE; take a look at the Birgitt Shannon created video of the inaugural Affordable Art & Artisan Fair at the Black Sheep Bar & Grill Whakamarama  



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