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Penguins' return a reason to celebrate

Last updated 12:08 17/01/2013
penguin
Photo: COLIN LUNT
HANDY-WORK: Jill Guillemin has been working on her penguin piece for six months in preparation for her first solo exhibit.
penguin
Photo: COLIN LUNT
HANDY-WORK: Jill Guillemin has been working on her penguin piece for six months in preparation for her first solo exhibit.

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The plight of little blue penguins caught in the Rena disaster struck a chord with artist Jill Guillemin.

The oil spill caused by the grounding of the container ship MV Rena on the Astrolabe Reef in 2011, affecting the Tauranga coast, inspired the Waiwera resident to create her first solo exhibit.

Jill's first reaction was to focus on the suffering and anguish the oil caused.

"As time went by, and having seen the photographs and film of these beautiful creatures celebrating their return to the ocean, my thoughts turned to their happiness," Jill says.

"During the past six months I have created 25 clay sculptures including mums, dads and babies, each displaying its own personality."

The piece is called Ka Hoki Mai Nga Korora, The Little Blue Penguins Have Returned.

The exhibition will also include film and photographs of the disaster not previously seen.

Jill started sculpting some 12 years ago and studied with a number of well-known New Zealand sculptors.

Since then she has developed her own style, injecting her sense of humour into an imaginary animated world of penguins, possums, pigs, dogs and moreporks.

She has shown successfully at a variety of exhibitions and sculpture events from the Kaipara Coast Sculpture Trail to King's College Fine Art Sale, Otahuhu.

Ka Hoki Mai Nga Korora opens at Creative Tauranga's gallery from February 9 to 19.

Call Creative Tauranga 07 928 5270, email reception@creativetauranga.org.nz or visit Jill's website whatyousee-photography.com for information.

- Jill is a photographer who often contributes to the Rodney Times.

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