Empty shops be­come gallery for seven artists

Papakura Courier - - FRONT PAGE - NIGEL MOFFIET

Empty shops are be­ing trans­formed into art spa­ces car­ry­ing im­por­tant mes­sages.

Com­mu­nity arts group the Cre­ative Souls Project is launch­ing the ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tled Aranga (mean­ing to rise up) in part­ner­ship with the Pa­pakura Lo­cal Board and Pa­pakura Busi­ness As­so­ci­a­tion.

Seven young artists aged 16 to 24, all from around Pa­pakura and Franklin, are tak­ing part in the project.

Art in­stal­la­tions were car­ried out in ar­eas such as Smiths Ave and Kirks Bush. The pieces were pho­tographed and put on dis­play in five empty store­fronts along O’Shan­nessey St.

The aim of the project is to draw at­ten­tion to empty and un­used spa­ces that are con­sid­ered ‘‘lost’’ or ‘‘unloved’’.

Cre­ative Souls Project founder Deahne Lakatani says the ini­tia­tive gives young artists ex­po­sure for their work and offers men­tor­ship along the way. The artists are also paid.

It’s the first project for the group in Pa­pakura and Lakatani spent a num­ber of weeks scout­ing lo­cal schools and or­gan­i­sa­tions to get the right peo­ple on board.

Brookby pho­tog­ra­pher Ceara Adamski heard about the project on­line and thought is was a ‘‘cool op­por­tu­nity’’.

Her work, ti­tled Trapped, was car­ried out at Smiths Ave. It car­ries an im­age of a dis­traught fig­ure up against a door, cap­tured in black and white pho­tog­ra­phy, and ex­plores the theme of de­pres­sion and men­tal health.

Adamski hopes to raise aware­ness through the piece.

‘‘When you’re in a place like that, it’s very hard to get out of,’’ she says.

Town cen­tre man­ager Tracy Shack­le­ton says land­lords and busi­nesses have been happy to get on board.

‘‘The show­case of lo­cal tal­ent and vi­sion in the shop win­dows from these young cre­atives is out- stand­ing and well worth the visit to O’Shan­nessey St to ad­mire.’’

Shack­le­ton sees the work as a ‘‘pos­i­tive for the street’’.

Five new busi­nesses have ar­rived over the past 12 months and projects like this aim to draw in more peo­ple, she says.

Pa­pakura Lo­cal Board chair­man Brent Catch­pole says he’s ‘‘ab­so­lutely de­lighted’’ with the project which dis­plays ’’all the good tal­ent around the town’’.

The ex­hi­bi­tion runs un­til Septem­ber 29.

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