Art collection rekindles memories of rural towns

ALEXIA JOHNSTON
Last updated 05:00 15/11/2012
graham rawstorn

ON DISPLAY: Artist Graham Rawstorn has spent countless hours painting pictures of South Canterbury's rural halls.

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A collection of artworks depicting South Canterbury's rural halls has gone on display in Geraldine.

The works by Graham Rawstorn have been hung at The Cottage Pantry and Gallery in time for this week's Geraldine Arts and Plants festival.

Mr Rawstorn started work on his collection of pen and water colour paintings while house-sitting for a friend over a two-month period.

"I thought this is a good chance. I took my paints up there and this is the result."

He struggled to find a picture of the Arundel Hall, which was demolished in 1998, but sourced one at the last minute.

"I was able to rush it in."

His collection, which took him a year to complete, comprises 10 halls - Orari, Hilton, Kakahu, Woodbury, Pleasant Valley, Peel Forest, Orari Bridge, Cattle Valley, Gapes Valley and Arundel.

The works had already brought back memories for people, he said.

"That's the thing, when people start looking and talking about them the memories start to flood back. Some of those halls saw people going off to the war."

They were also used for dances among other activities, he said.

"It's where people met."

Mr Rawstorn's fascination for old buildings was the motivation behind his project.

"I've got albums by the mile at home of photos I took when I first came here 30 years ago, and that's what I did these (paintings) from.

"I think if I was any good at maths I would have been an architect - I love architecture."

Instead, Mr Rawstorn, who has been painting "off and on all his life", has embraced his artistic talents using pen and water colours.

"This is a hobby of mine. I just get so much satisfaction, just sitting down with my old photos."

The exhibition is being held in conjunction with Geraldine Arts and Plants, which starts today and finishes on Sunday. However, the artworks will remain on display until mid-December.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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