Toi Poneke Gallery Becomes a House of Complexity

18 May 2010

It will be like walking into a home as you enter Toi Poneke Gallery from Friday 28 May. Delicately crocheted dresses dangle from the ceiling, paintings decorate a wall, and individually crafted comics lie around in the corner beneath a shelf with two robotic sculptures.

All artworks are by Wellington City Council tenants. The idea for the exhibition arose from the community work that Council staff are doing in relation to the Council's massive multimillion-dollar housing upgrade. They have been working with individual tenants and housing community groups, as well as with Pablos Arts Studios and Vincents Art Workshop.

The Council's Arts Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ray Ahipene-Mercer, says the gallery is thrilled with the amount of high-quality and technically brilliant artworks that have come pouring in from tenants.

"We're really excited about this now. Our curator and city housing staff have worked closely with the tenants for a few months and the end result is going to look amazing.

"I think it's interesting that a theme 'making spaces more liveable' came through so strongly from everyone who submitted works. It brings art right back to one of its primary functions - making homes and public places more vibrant and liveable," he says.

"Many of our tenants are having to cope with significant upheaval during our housing's redevelopment. The opportunity for them to express their responses to this is much welcomed. On behalf of the city, I'd like to acknowledge their collective work and welcome its display at Toi Pōneke."

This exhibition includes a wide variety of mediums and styles. It includes paintings and sculptures, crafts and textile art. Most of the works that were submitted, but didn't make it on to the gallery walls, will be presented in a continuous video loop.

The Council's Social Portfolio Leader, Councillor Ngaire Best, says many of the artists already know each other.

"Tenants have come together to form localised arts groups and developed projects through collaboration - which does wonders in developing a strong sense of community. This exhibition is a chance to bring them all together under one roof to mix, appreciate one another's work and hopefully keep going with this type of citywide collaboration," she says.

Complex Creative opens at 5.30pm on Thursday 27 May at Toi Pōneke Gallery, 61 Abel Smith Street - just up the road from Real Groovy.