Artists hacked off about fracking

Graham Kirk is one of 22 artists featuring in an exhibition called FRACKED.
Graham Kirk is one of 22 artists featuring in an exhibition called FRACKED.

Taranaki's most prominent artists are planning to make a stand against fracking this weekend, the best way they know how.

Spearheaded by coastal artist Graham Kirk, Fracked will exhibit the work of 22 Taranaki artists expressing their views on the controversial topic.

Of the 23 artists approached to take part, only one declined Mr Kirk's invitation due to personal views.

Some of the big name artists to feature in the exhibition are Dale Copeland, Roger Morris, Mikaere Gardiner, Paul Hutchinson and Alby Carter.

Mr Kirk said a lot of the artists instinctively felt fracking was wrong, and learning more about the process had cemented the view that it was not a move in the right direction.

Mr Kirk said he felt the exhibition's title, Fracked, was highly appropriate.

"At first sight you can quite easily mistake it for another word of similar spelling, which is basically what they're doing to Taranaki."

The exhibition would be a chance to raise awareness and allow artists to express their reservations about fracking through their work, he said.

"Naturally you hope it's going to have a huge impact, but it would be unrealistic to expect that suddenly the Taranaki Regional Council is going to abandon its plans.

"At least it shows there's a community of artists who don't want it to continue."

The Okato man said the industrial landscape that had evolved in Australia as a result of drilling and fracking was the last thing he wanted to see in Taranaki.

Mr Kirk said he felt as though Taranaki was being taken in a direction in which the majority of the residents did not want to go, which he found annoying.

It was the plans to continue expanding the industry that worried him.

"I think it's a dead end. We need things that are sustainable. What we have here is good - our soils, our climate. It's such a beautiful place."

Mr Kirk said he looked forward to what may transpire as a result of 22 artists producing work about something happening under the ground and out of sight.

The exhibition opens this Sunday at The Village Gallery in Eltham, starting at 2pm.

Several key speakers will be in attendance, while Taranaki band The Fractured Frackers will entertain with jazz and blues. The featured artists are Alby Carter, Dale Copeland, Fiona Clark, Carl Fairweather, Mikaere Gardner, Teresa Goodin, Waldo Hartley, Ces Hill , Sarah Buist, Anne Holliday, Jan Huijbers, Paul Hutchinson, Graham Kirk, Julianne Lafferty, Roger Morris, Wayne Morris, Marianne Muggeridge, Mili Purpil, Paul Rangiwhaia, Michaela Stoneman, and Glenda West.

Taranaki Daily News