Un­used and un­wanted goods find home

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By EMMA WHIT­TAKER

If it is pos­si­ble to turn hun­dreds of or­di­nary plas­tic pic­nic sets found in op­por­tu­nity shops into art then Judy Dar­ragh has done it.

From tonight the Grey Lynn res­i­dent’s lat­est cre­ation called As­tral Pic­nic is go­ing on show at the Manukau In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy’s Grounded Fes­ti­val of sus­tain­able arts.

Many of her pre­vi­ous works are also made from un­used and un­wanted items she finds in char­ity stores.

Cre­ations from her early ca­reer in the 1980s in­clud­ing Birth of Bar­bie – a kind of shrine cen­tred around a Bar­bie doll sur­rounded by plas­tic flow­ers and Christ­mas lights – earned her the mon­ica the Queen of Kitsch.

Kitsch de­scribes art con­sid­ered gawdy.

More re­cently Ms Dar­ragh turned hordes of sec­ond hand stain­less steel kitchen equip­ment into en­gine look­ing sculp­tures in­spired by a clas­sic car show.

‘‘A lot of my ma­te­ri­als come from some­where other than the source. It’s more sur­pris­ing to find some­thing than to go and make some­thing new.

‘‘I do think we should be reusing more and more. We’ve got enough stuff, let’s just use all of it up,’’ she says.

As­tral Pic­nic is se­ries of stacked plas­tic ware and shares this sen­ti­ment.

This is the first year the Grounded Fes­ti­val of sus­tain­able arts has been held by MIT.

Ms Dar­ragh was a lec­turer at the in­sti­tute when it first opened its school of vis­ual arts.

Her work is to be part of a sculp­ture walk in Otara Creek Re­serve.

She is look­ing for­ward to it be­ing dis­played in the park.

‘‘I al­ways thought it was so beau­ti­ful. When you looked out the top floor win­dow [of the school build­ing] it was this beau­ti­ful un­in­ter­rupted green mat with the mo­tor­way roar­ing around it,’’ she says.

The open­ing of the sculp­ture walk is tonight at 6pm and it will be open to­mor­row from 10am till 5pm. Other fes­ti­val events in­clude print­mak­ing, draw­ing, cre­ative writ­ing and gar­den­ing work­shops, per­for­mances and a craft mar­ket.


Cre­ative con­science: Artist Judy Dar­ragh with a paint­ing she cre­ated out of an old movie poster. She is dis­play­ing sculp­tures at MIT’s Grounded Fes­ti­val of sus­tain­able arts.

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