Artist donates a 'gentle' reminder

ESTHER ASHBY-COVENTRY
Last updated 05:00 30/11/2013
Painting donated to the Timaru District Council
MYTCHALL BRANSGROVE/Fairfax NZ
RIVER ART: Timaru mayor Damon Odey acknowledges artist Claire Earlie Maxwell’s donation of one of her river works to the council.

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A Winchester artist has donated a large work to the Timaru District Council to raise awareness of the importance of protecting and preserving our waterways.

Artist Claire Earlie Maxwell said she was inspired to make the gift after hearing that Henri Stein had donated one of his sculptures to the council's art collection.

The artwork, Temuka, is influenced by French art nouveau and is created from watercolours and drawings. It was uploaded on computer and a digital mastering technique used. Once complete it was professionally printed with archival ink on to archival canvas for longevity.

Maxwell was born in Limerick, Ireland and trained at the Limerick School of Art and the National College of Art and Design in Dublin.

She moved to New Zealand in 1981, undertook more study and then settled in South Canterbury in 1998 where she feels an affinity with the land and concern for the rivers.

"I choose Temuka because I am very fond of that area and feel a connection with its history as a Maori settlement of Arowhenua along [the Temuka River's] banks."

Hanging on the wall of the foyer outside the council chambers, Maxwell hopes Temuka will help raise awareness of the importance of managing rivers properly.

"My artwork ... acts as a gentle reminder to the councillors when they go into the debating chamber to remember the part they can play by ensuring the health of our rivers."

Mayor Damon Odey said it was fitting that the artwork was inspired by our water and the clean-up needed.

"We understand what we have to do and we have to do it better," he said.

He said the Environment Canterbury Orari-Opihi-Pareora Zone Committee was persevering in working on water management, but no one person or group was responsible for the state of the waterways.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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