Artist creates mementoes of lost homes

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 05:00 25/06/2012
Sarah Brown
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ

CREATIVE: An artwork made by Sarah Brown for a quake-hit resident.

Sarah Brown
KIRK HARGREAVES/Fairfax NZ
MEMENTOES: Christchurch artist Sarah Brown makes free artworks for people losing their homes or businesses.

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Christchurch Earthquake 2011

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Wallpaper and linoleum destined for the scrap heap are being transformed into cherished keepsakes for earthquake-hit Cantabrians.

Christchurch artist Sarah Brown has created artworks of homes and businesses scheduled for demolition using recycled material salvaged from the buildings and set in old cigarette tins.

Of the 22 she has completed, most contain a mix of wallpaper, glass, and flooring and roofing materials.

The owners are not charged, although some had offered a small donation.

"It's just to try to help people who are going through a really hard time, and also to give them a souvenir of their home. People are so grateful and so touched," Brown said.

"Everybody thinks there's somebody worse off, but you can see the sadness in their eyes, especially the older people."

Brown lost her job at COCA art gallery when it closed after the February 2011 quake, and she felt frustrated not knowing how to contribute to the recovery effort.

"Some people dig silt for five hours, but I can't do that. I just tried to think what I could do.

"It's so sad. Some of these people have lived in their places for years. It's given me a lot of joy doing it."

Works were created from photographs, but she preferred to meet the owners and "get a feel for the place, talk to them and hear their stories".

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