Ad­ven­tur­ous mi­grant artists find niche in Ma­pua

The Press - Zest - - Culverden Christmas Country Fete -

When South Africans Rus­sel and Charisse Pap­worth ar­rived in New Zealand with their fam­ily two years ago, they thought they had booked ac­com­mo­da­tion in Nel­son.

In fact, the bed-and-break­fast they were look­ing for was wait­ing for them in Ma­pua, a 35-minute drive away.

It was a for­tu­itous er­ror. Ma­pua proved to be the ideal lo­ca­tion for the art show­room they were plan­ning and, within four days, their two chil­dren had been en­rolled at a school, they had found them­selves a rented house and signed a lease on busi­ness premises on the Ma­pua wharf.

‘‘You might say it was a mirac­u­lous jour­ney. We had en­joyed a beau­ti­ful life in South Africa but de­cided it was time for a change and a new ad­ven­ture,’’ Charisse Pap­worth says.

‘‘We had no idea what we were go­ing to make or do. In South Africa, we had been in­volved in re­tail, whole­sale and man­u­fac­tur­ing.’’

The di­rec­tion be­came clear when Rus­sel, a bronze sculp­tor, ob­served a pair of gar­den im­ple­ments on the ground and thought they re­sem­bled the body and tail of a fish. With a lit­tle ma­nip­u­la­tion, he was able to trans­form them into an art­work.

In this way, For­est Fu­sion Func­tional Art was born. Rus­sel has de­vel­oped an imag­i­na­tive col­lec­tion of metal pieces that are de­rived from re­cy­cled tools and im­ple­ments. They have been greeted en­thu­si­as­ti­cally by New Zealan­ders and over­seas tourists alike.

‘‘There are hundreds of Rus­sel’s fish all over the world now and each one has its own per­son­al­ity,’’ Charisse says.

There will also be a sub­stan­tial shoal of them at the Cul­ver­den Christ­mas Coun­try Fete where Charisse’s con­tem­po­rary pewter jew­ellery will also be ex­hib­ited.

The cou­ple have no for­mal train­ing in their cho­sen art forms.

‘‘It has been trust, ig­no­rance and strik­ing it lucky,’’ she says.

‘‘Rus­sel’s style is very spe­cial and the fin­ish on his pieces is ex­cep­tional. He has good con­cepts and his work is thor­ough and neat. The pieces he makes could go into the home of a mul­ti­mil­lion­aire or into that of Joe Pub­lic.’’

She says peo­ple have been wel­com­ing, en­cour­ag­ing and sup­port­ive.

‘‘This is home for at least an­other 10 years – un­til we come up with an­other crazy con­cept.’’

For­est Fu­sion Func­tional Art now sup­plies works of art to four New Zealand gal­leries.

For more ex­am­ples of the Pap­worths’ art, visit the web­site forest­fu­sion.com

Rus­sel and Charisse Pap­worth found Ma­pua and started a creative en­ter­prise there when they ar­rived in NewZealand from South Africa two years ago. Metal War­rior: The tynes of a hoe have been em­ployed to fash­ion the tail feath­ers of War­rior the Rooster.

Rus­sel Pap­worth, of For­est Fu­sion Func­tional Art, has trans­formed re­cy­cled tools into a col­lec­tion of strik­ing metal fish.

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