Covid 19 no obstacle to local artists’ ‘lockdown’ Mahara Gallery show




Thirty-seven local artists, who had agreed to contribute all or part of sales in a Mahara Gallery exhibition to the Gallery’s redevelopment project, are determined that Covid 19 will not deter them.


From Friday 1 May, their work can be viewed and purchased as part of an on-line exhibition titled re-framed//lockdown, using the Gallery’s website and Face-book page.


Gallery Director Janet Bayly says the idea for the show was conceived late last year before Covid 19 was even on the horizon.


Paekakariki-based artist Harriet Bright suggested a show by Kāpiti artists using frames from Waikanae framing business, Picture Perfect Framing that had been used originally for the Philipp Family Foundation-sponsored, the Mahara-Nga Manu Children’s Art and Environment exhibition.


“We gave the show the name, FrameUps, and Kāpiti artists were enthusiastic about the concept,” says Janet Bayly. “Artists were happy to donate either 100 percent or 50 percent of proceeds from sales to our redevelopment project.


“Work was coming in the door in early March, just as life was about to change for all of us with the response to Covid 19.”


The Gallery closed on 21 March, just before lockdown on 24 March. Gallery staff set up home offices and started re-connecting again with artists and others in their immediate art ecosystem in the new world of social isolation.


“We were delighted that so many of the artists remained committed to the concept and supported a new online delivery platform for the show on the Mahara Gallery website, and also on our face-book page,” said Janet Bayly.


“Several also responded to our amended title for the show: re-framed//lockdown, with new work reacting to or reflecting the crisis.


“It has been another indication of how important the arts are to everyone and will continue to be in our new environment as we rebuild our mental health and emotional wellbeing and add beauty, ideas and strength to everyone's daily lives.”


Janet Bayly says the Gallery hopes that those viewing the images find something special that moves or touches them in the range of work presented, which has now broadened as the constraints of framing to a particular size and format were dropped.


Gallery staff have been adapting to working wholly in the new virtual platform.


“We hope to bring you more images and some conversations and interviews as well as we flesh out this ongoing show, and encourage you to interact with it through our facebook page and support it however you can. 


The Gallery is also gradually mounting three shows on its website which closed earlier than planned due to Covid-19. These include AMOKURA, by Erena Baker and Reweti Arapere; Let's NOT celebrate Cook by Robyn Kahukiwa, and Diane Connal Works in Cabinet SPACE.


Alongside the new show re-framed//lockdown the Gallery is also mounting a second show by Jack Register (1936-2018) Capital Views.


Janet Bayly says that when the Gallery can re-open again, hopefully at Level 2, it plans to mount works in the gallery as well. Visitors will continue to be limited to smaller groups and require contact tracing.