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Interisland arts exchange kicks off

GWYNETH HYNDMAN
Last updated 12:47 12/11/2012
Megan Corbett
GWYNETH HYNDMAN/Fairfax NZ
Megan Corbett looks over her sculpture made of papier mache, chicken wire and stainless steel pins.

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Twenty artists from the North Island have shipped their work to Riverton for a Far North Deep South exhibition, which organisers hope is the beginning of an annual trade of culture and ideas between the islands.

As Whangarei artists Megan Corbett and Andrea Beazley surveyed the space at the Riverton Arts Centre last week, curator Dianne Robinson straightened the last of the pieces, which included paintings of Northland landscapes, a set of oars with an image of a pa etched into the wood, and an old-fashioned butter box with a wild pig jaw inside. A history of the Maori Land Wars and court rulings are carved on the outside of the box.

The noisy contraption, entitled Churn, made the news earlier in the year when its creator Joe Porter began spinning it in the Waikato museum. With long dreads and bare feet, security assumed Porter was a vagrant and stood as sentries around the piece to protect it from Porter.

Corbett, who selected most of the artists for the exhibition, said Porter was one of the artists she brought down here because they gave more than the "blue skies, white beaches and pohutukawa trees" that have become the standard imagery for North Island art.

Beazley, who manages the Quarry Arts Centre in Whangarei, will likely host an exhibition of southern artists at the centre next year.

Her porcelain work has been placed on a white pillar in the Riverton centre entrance, which accentuates the bright, rich colours she has used for the piece, inspired by her husband's deep sea diving in the Poor Knights Islands.

Beazley said there was a lot of repetition involved in her sea anemone, for which she used a toothpick to paint dots in the the innards and crevices. Usually her art was wearable, she said, but it was "fun to do something different".

Corbett's own work is enclosed in glass in the front - a shoe sculpture series made of papier mache, chicken wire and hundreds of stainless steel pins. One of the shoes - entitled Steps to Heaven - is made from tiny pieces of an AA road map of Northland.

She said she based the work on walking trips she took outside her Whangarei home.

Far North Deep South shows at the Riverton Arts Centre on Palmerston St until November 18.

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- The Southland Times

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