Empty shops become gallery for seven artists
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.