Artists Expand Horizons with Trip to Xiamen

14 May 2009

Six Wellington artists will soon be travelling to Xiamen for three weeks as part of the Wellington Xiamen Association's 2009 sister cities cultural exchange programme. They leave Wellington on Saturday 23 May.

Wellington's Acting Mayor, Ian McKinnon, says the exchange will provide an opportunity to further strengthen a valued relationship. "The Wellington Xiamen Association has established some wonderful programmes that have enabled people in both cities to experience, explore, and learn about each other's culture through exchanges in the fields of education, business and art.

"This exchange will provide a great opportunity for local artists to create work in a new environment and to bring back ideas that can only enhance Wellington's already vibrant arts community."

Wellington artists were invited to register their interest in the programme in August last year. A large number of talented and experienced artists applied and the following were chosen:

Peter Coates. Artist and television director. Peter was one of the artists who worked and exhibited with Xiamen artists when they came to Wellington. He is an artist member of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts, Watercolour New Zealand and the Wellington Artists' Group.

Ping Ching Mabbett. President of the New Zealand Oriental Arts Society. Works in both Western and Chinese painting styles. Her ability as an interpreter will be vital for the group when they reach Xiamen.

Janet Andrews. A top watercolour artist from Days Bay. Also involved with the visit of Xiamen artists. She is currently President of the Wellington Artists Group and is a former President of Watercolour New Zealand.

Robert Franken. Wellingtonian of Dutch descent who lives in Korokoro. Robert is an art lecturer at the Learning Connexion and his work is exhibited worldwide.

John Walsh. A talented Māori artist who came to Wellington in the 1990s to work as the inaugural Curator of Contemporary Māori Art at Te Papa. He lives in Lyall Bay as a full-time professional artist.

Leah Sheppard. A young Māori artist who has been studying towards a Fine Arts degree at Canterbury University. She is currently working on a Master of Museum and Heritage Studies at Victoria University.

While in Xiamen, the artists will exhibit their works and take part in lectures and workshops. When they return, they will share their newfound skills and experiences with the Wellington arts community.

The Wellington Xiamen Association was established as a community group by Wellington City Council to foster closer relationships between sister cities Wellington and Xiamen. The sister city relationship was established in 1987.

The exchange is supported by the Xiamen Overseas Chinese Affairs Office.