Collaborative Exhibition launched at Mahara Gallery

He Kākano, Seed, a collaborative project between Mahara Gallery, Ngā Manu Nature Reserve and Raumati South School, was launched last week and is currently showing at the gallery.

The project, supported by the Phillip Family Foundation (PFF), aims to link science, environmental themes and the creative process via a day trip to Ngā Manu, followed by a visit to the gallery. This is followed up by several visits to the school by local artist Michelle Backhouse, poet Mary-Jane Duffy and filmmaker Te Kupu, where students reflect on their experience by producing artworks and poetry.

The show incorporates both the children’s art, poetry and a film of young poets reading their works. The PFF-funded project has run for six years, each year with a different environmental focus.

“He Kakano, Seed, the theme of this year’s show, was developed to give children a greater awareness of the life-force of the seed, a living embryo and time-capsule preserving things from the past,” explains Ngā Manu Reserve Educator Rhys Mills, who took Raumati South school students through several activities, presentations and a walk through the Reserve.

“The biggest value of the project lies in the experience taking place outside the usual classroom setting, and its crossovers between science and the arts,” says Mahara Gallery director Janet Bayly. “Many children may not have had the opportunity to visit the reserve, nor likewise, an art gallery.” It demonstrates the key principle expressed in the PFF motto: ‘Everything in life is connected’.

He Kakāno, Seed is an ambitious project, with around 100 students’ artworks on display as a culmination of the project experience. Launched alongside He Kākano, Seed were also two other exhibitions The Halo Project-Nga Manu with artworks by Paul Forrest (based on the ‘halo effect’ of increased birdlife in Wellington from Zealandia Bird Sanctuary and other environmental projects which create a ripple effect in their community) and paintings and illustrations by Cushla McGaughey, researched and created for local board-game developer Jill Hemming’s new game Flight of Pollen. All three exhibitions will be on show at Mahara Gallery until 10 September.

The board-game Flight of Pollen is being launched at Mahara Gallery on Saturday 2nd September at 11am, aided by teams of players from Kapanui School. Paul Forrest is undertaking a joint Artist in Residency between Mahara Gallery and Nga Manu Nature Reserve during which he is offering numerous talks and events for visiting schools and the public. Please contact the gallery for further information on 902 6242 on any of these events or artists. [email protected]