Artist explores themes of migration
In an exhibition named Migration it seems only natural the artwork itself will travel.
Luke Kelly expected the first time his art hung in its planned formation would also be the last time, which is just what he wanted.
‘‘A lot of the themes are family history, cultural histories, migration and how New Zealanders came here on boats and planes and waka and fishing trawler.
‘‘The pieces all start together but will probably be sold individually and go off to different houses ... they will never be together again, it will be the only time they were in the same place as a family.’’
But the eventual sale and splitting up of his art doesn’t make him sad, he said.
‘‘When you’re working in a studio and working up close you never get to see all the pieces in succession ... I kind of know what it will look like but it will be different, that’s what I’m excited about.’’
Maori and Polynesian culture inspired the exhibition and many of the pieces are made from thinly cut cedar curved and bent into nautical shapes.
Kelly said he stumbled across the wood when his mother had cedar weatherboards taken off her Waikanae home.
‘‘I’d been doing a lot of work with moulded ply and stretched aluminium and I started cutting up the cedar and realised how beautiful it was. You can get it down to 1-2mm and it bends like balsa wood, it has a lovely grain which has no knots so you can cut it with a craft knife.’’
It was a childhood spent close to the ocean in a beach settlement near Gisbourne that influenced Kelly’s designs.
‘‘We always had surfboards and boats and were always in the sand, building and making things.’’
He studied graphic design in Wellington where he learnt print making and design.
He and wife Vida work together as freelance graphic designers, ’’the income stream sucks but I do get to be creative’’.
‘‘It would be lovely to do art full time.’’
Contemporary Art Curator for Pataka Mark Hutchins-Pond said it was exciting to be showing Kelly’s work.
‘‘He hasn’t showed at Pataka before and it will be a nice fit for his art.’’
Migration is showing at Toi Gallery, Pataka Museum from September 30 till October 29.
Luke Kelly’s exhibition is being shown at Porirua’s Pataka museum.