Heav­enly bod­ies bor­rowed for art

The Hastings Mail - - OUT & ABOUT - STAFF RE­PORTER

There are some sur­pris­ing fea­tures hid­den in Hast­ings artist Debby Au­gust’s paint­ings of Ma¯ori moko.

The im­ages look 100 per cent pure New Zealand but the truth is that one paint­ing in­cludes the shoul­ders of Hol­ly­wood star­let Halle Berry, and that dou­bly chis­elled torso – that’s bor­rowed from a CSI Mi­ami hunk.

Au­gust’s se­ries of five moko works will be among about 300 paint­ings ex­hib­ited by 70 mem­bers of the Hu­man­ity Painters at the Hast­ings Com­mu­nity Arts Cen­tre from Oc­to­ber 16 to 28.

The an­nual ex­hi­bi­tion tra­di­tion­ally at­tracts more vis­i­tors than any other held at the arts cen­tre.

The artists come from through­out Hawke’s Bay and are tu­tored by Napier’s He­len Ker­ridge at weekly classes in a stu­dio above Hu­man­ity Books on Karamu Road, Hast­ings.

Au­gust says she en­joyed art as a stu­dent at Hast­ings Girls’ High 40 years ago but only picked up a paint brush again in 2013.

‘‘I started dab­bling at home with paint­ing on rocks and stones.’’ she says.

‘‘Then I bought a 16-piece art work on­line and dif­fer­ent peo­ple told me ‘I’m sure you could do bet­ter’. So I started to paint on can- vas – just muck­ing around – and then I heard about He­len. I started com­ing to her classes and it’s been just amaz­ing. She’s taught me so much.’’

Au­gust, who works as a men­tal health sup­port worker in Napier, en­joys paint­ing por­traits, al­beit from the lips down.

‘‘They are all chin down be­cause I wanted to zone in on that area and en­hance them, I sup­pose it just broad­ens the imag­i­na­tion a bit.’’

She found im­ages for her sub­jects on­line and in­spi­ra­tion for the tat­toos in books.

‘‘They’re not tra­di­tional moko, I’ve changed some. I don’t copy any­one’s moko, un­less some­one came to me and asked me to.’’

Her se­ries is of four wahine and one tane.

‘‘They’ll all be in the ex­hi­bi­tion but they won’t be for sale. I quite like how they sit to­gether on my wall.’’

Ker­ridge says the group’s yearly ex­hi­bi­tions are ‘‘gain­ing a lot of re­spect through con­sis­tently pre­sent­ing high qual­ity pro­fes­sional paint­ings at very af­ford­able prices’’.

Hu­man­ity Painters are now reg­u­larly rep­re­sented in awards, in­clud­ing the Adam Por­trai­ture Award, Art Hawke’s Bay Re­view, and East. They are also in the sta­bles of gal­leries na­tion­wide.

The group’s 2017 show is called Af­ter the Del­uge, a ref­er­ence to a near-calami­tous flood caused by a burst street wa­ter pipe that se­verely dam­aged their stu­dio in March.

Napier’s Pa­trick Ty­man is this year’s guest artist and will speak at the ex­hi­bi­tion open­ing.

Debby Au­gust with one of her five paint­ings show­cas­ing Ma¯ori moko. ‘‘They are all chin down be­cause I wanted to zone in on that area and en­hance them, I sup­pose it just broad­ens the imag­i­na­tion a bit.’’ Debby Au­gust

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