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Young climber's posthumous art show

ANNA PEARSON
Last updated 10:18 28/07/2014
Marty and Denali Schmidt
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TRAGIC LOSS: Marty Schmidt and his son, Denali, were killed by an avalanche on K2 in July last year.

Denali artwork
Supplied
TALENTED: California College of the Arts graduate Denali's painting Summit.

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The sister of a man killed on the world's deadliest mountain has organised an international exhibition of artworks he never got to show.

Marty Schmidt, one of New Zealand's best mountaineers, and his 25-year-old son, Denali, were killed by an avalanche on the 8611-metre K2 on the Pakistan-China border in July last year.

Marty, 53, and Denali were aiming to become the first father-and-son team to reach the summit of the mountain.

Denali, who graduated from the California College of the Arts a month before he died, left behind a San Francisco storage unit full of artworks inspired by mountaineering and climbing.

His sister, Sequoia Di Angelo, 23, has spent the last year organising a campaign to take his paintings and installations around the world.

The Peak Inspirations exhibition will go to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Austin, New York City, London, Berlin, Sydney and Wellington - all cities with ''special significance'' in Denali's life.

A crowdfunding cause to raise $330,000 to fund the exhibition has been set up through Kickstarter, and launches in the United States today.

Sequoia was born to Marty and his first wife, Joanne Munisteri, in Napier and lived there until she moved to America to finish her last year of high school.

Marty and his second wife, Giannina Cantale, moved to Christchurch and bought a house soon after Sequoia left New Zealand.

Denali stayed in Hawke's Bay to finish high school before moving to Wanaka.

In the United States, Sequoia became an entrepreneur and started a magazine called Houston Youth, which later developed into a publishing company.

She said the Peak Inspirations exhibition was a way of channelling her grief into something positive and meaningful, but it was far from easy.

A video she and some friends made for the Kickstarter cause had to be reshot as some footage was taken only a month after their deaths and she was still in shock.

''We had to go back and do it again. I think the one thing I have learnt about grief is that it is something that will never go away,'' she said.

Sequoia said her brother pursuing a full-time career as an artist was equally as brave as climbing ''great monoliths'' like Mt McKinley- the highest mountain in North America - and K2.

''The mountains [Denali] climbed shook his soul and provided him with life and death insights he was able to express through his art practice,'' she said.

Denali and Marty's bodies may never be recovered but their family members are in regular contact with guides on K2.

One of the last paintings Denali created before he died was of K2.

For more information, see peakinspirations.com.

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