DECONSTRUCTION RECONSTRUCTED – an exhibition at Central Library Peterborough

Hard hats on … you are about to enter a construction zone!

Deconstruction Reconstructed Exhibition covering page
An exhibition in fulfilment of the requirements for a Diploma of Distial Photography by Helen McLeod

Helen helps us wrestle back control of our demolished city – taking us on a journey past our city’s older buildings. Some are under threat of demolition and susceptible to destruction and decay. Capturing them photographically, deconstructing and reconstructing them, giving them a surreal dimension, the buildings seem at times to defy physics. The photographs begin pre-dawn with sunrise ending with night fall as if over a day, the weather also changing – reflecting our climate as if there where four seasons in one day!

Come and take this visual journey with us at Central Library Peterborough from the 18th to the 25th of September.

Find out more on 2 Galleries Facebook and visit her at 2

First World War Exhibition at Central Library Peterborough

Come on down to Central Library Peterborough to have a look at our genuine First World War memorabilia, kindly loaned by local collector Barry O’Sullivan. Featuring gas masks, cameras, soldiers’ kits, uniforms and a wide variety of other items from both home and abroad, this is a great opportunity to get up close and personal with life from 1914 to 1918. The exhibition runs until Sunday 24 May, so do pop in and give us a visit.

First World War

Cover of  Women Heroes of World War I 16 Remarkable Resisters, Soldiers, Spies, and MedicsI’ve just finished reading Women Heroes of World War I. It includes Lady Helena Gleichen and Nina Hollings, radiographers in Italy. Among other things, they x-rayed gassed soldiers and discovered that their lungs shrivelled to about two inches in diameter. That sounds a little uncomfortable to me – all that stood between them and the gas was a flimsy hood soaked in glycerin and sodium thiosulphate. The German gas mask by comparison looks a lot more like the bug-eyed versions I’m familiar with, with goggles attached to a breathing apparatus.

Another exciting discovery is the possible connection between a camera in our exhibit and a roll of film donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington. They have kindly provided some scanned copies of the photos taken on the camera which can be viewed alongside the exhibition.

    Title Vest Pocket Kodak, camera and case     Date [circa 1910-1920]      Image 5 of 6     Notes Examples of items soldiers carried with them. Marked with E. J. Jekyll, 7/740. 1 C.M.R. N.Z.M.R.      Source Barry O'Sullivan collection     Collection Description A collection of the types of items taken overseas by enlisted men from Christchurch.     Parent Collection Description Part of a selection of material from the collection of Barry O'Sullivan relating to the first World War. The digital collection includes personal effects of enlisted men from Christchurch, regimental badges, diaries, letters, letterhead paper, newspapers, photographs and postcards.     Collection Location Private collection

Vest Pocket Kodak, camera and case, [circa 1910-1920] Examples of items soldiers carried with them. Marked with E. J. Jekyll, 7/740. 1 C.M.R. N.Z.M.R. Barry O’Sullivan collection. CCL-O’Sullivan-1835-006

First World War information

Digging Christchurch: Underground Overground Archaeology display

Underground Overground Archaeology have a fascinating collection of old stuff on display at South Library. A recent find is some old hats dug from the new Justice Precinct.

The Christchurch landscape contains within it the clues to a long gone era of the city’s history, when horse-drawn carriages took the place of cars, long skirts and frock coats were all the rage, and Queen Victoria reigned supreme. Since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes, archaeologists here have been uncovering and recording these traces of Christchurch’s early years and the people who made this city their home. This display showcases some of the artefacts excavated here over the last year and the stories they can tell us about the people who lived here over a hundred years ago. Exhibition finishes 30th January 2015.

Underground Overground Archaeology exhibition Underground Overground Archaeology exhibition Underground Overground Archaeology exhibition

Pop in and have a look – the exhibition is on until the end of January 2015.

‘Art’ is in the eye of the beholder?

Is it art or graffiti? If you’ve been meaning to check out the record breaking Rise street art exhibition, that is showing at Canterbury Museum, you’ve only got a little while before it wraps up on March 23rd.

Cover of Subway ArtI expect the huge colourful murals created by local and international artists currently adorning walls around the central city, will be with us a lot longer and may continue the discussion that’s been sparked over what constitutes art as opposed to graffiti.

Vigorous debate has played out in Christchurch newspapers over the past few weeks, but you can make your own mind up!   For more on the world of street art, there are plenty of books available, and an excellent starting point would be the seminal work Subway Art by Martha Cooper & Henry Chalfont.

The exhibition features a private collection of works by Banksy, who is no stranger to public comment and curiosity. More on this mystery man can be found at our libraries.  I’ve just finished Banksy: The man behind the wall which, while it could have benefited from some judicious editing in my humble opinion, does give an insight into the secretive artist and his street art/graffiti origins in Bristol.

Cover of Banksy: The Man Behind the WallOne of my Banksy favourites of the exhibition, was ‘Kids on Guns’, but ‘Kids on Gins’ by the artist known as Milton Springsteen is a brilliant take on the original.  As are his subversions of iconic New Zealand art works.  His series of ‘Corrupt Classics’ was one of the exhibition delights for me.

On the flip side, if it’s graffiti and tagging that’s an issue for your own property or neighbourhood, the Christchurch City Council wants to know.  If you’d like to take an active role in helping remove graffiti from around the city then the team at the Graffiti Programme would love to hear from you!

Two of my favourite large street art works are these ones on a couple of walls in Sydenham.

Street ArtStreet Art

What’s your take on this style of art? Love it or loathe it?

Kaffe Fassett quilt display at South Library

quilts on displayRenowned textile artist Kaffe Fassett is coming to town and the South Library is hosting an exhibition of quilts using stunning fabrics designed by the Kaffe Fassett Collective. Kaffe is known all over the world for his brilliant colour combinations and designs, in many forms of needlework as well as quilting. He is the author of over 40 books and  a prolific designer of textiles for the patchwork industry. He works with a talented team of designers who form the Kaffe Fassett Collective. The Collective includes Kaffee Fassett, Brandon Mably and Phillip Jacobs.

Fassett and Brandon Mably are visiting Christchurch to give a public lecture on February 6. The lecture will take place at the Beckenham School Hall from 7pm. Tickets ( there may still be some available) cost $50.00 and are available from Stitch, 27a Colombo Street, 03 332 1820, contact fenella@stitchplayroom.comThe lecture is designed to inspire and motivate. The presentation highlights works from his latest project, these include his patchwork quilt,fabric, needlepoint, mosaic, painting and knitting designs.

The quilts hung in the exhibition have been created by local artists, including award winning quilt artist Penny Jameson, using some of the many stunning fabrics designed by the Kaffe Fassett Collective. They show a range of traditional techniques and patterns with a modern twist and eye popping colour. Find the 2 quilts by our very own Katie Grady in the exhibition.

The exhibition  runs until February 18.

Art and heritage at South Library

photo of exhibitionThis month at South Library we are fortunate to have two stunning exhibitions on show which highlight lost heritage treasures in Christchurch. Artist Rudolf Boelee is showing portraits of artists and photographs of their houses from the Eastside of Christchurch and quiltmaker Kathleen Burford is displaying three magnificent heritage themed quilts.

Rudolf had a showing last year for his portraits and the exhibition is due to tour public galleries around the South Island from late 2014 onwards. As always we are keen to support local artists with our display wall and give their works additional exposure. There is also a link to his e-book Eastside  about the original exhibition at the Linwood Community Arts Centre. This show had 24 portraits, of which 12 are on display at South Library.

Rudolf says ” The idea for this project came after reading of former Christchurch Art Gallery curator Neil Roberts’ predicament of living in a perfectly good but red zoned house. The house is significant from a New Zealand art historical perspective; it was designed by sculptor designer Tom Taylor for renowned painter Bill Sutton, who lived there from 1963 until his death in 2000. It seems insane that this great place might just be demolished for no good reason. The new plan for the rebuild will change Christchurch even further, so my work is a type of mapping of what we still have here now.”
“Most of the artists approached, I had known for a very long time and the majority of them have been living and working in this neighborhood as long as I have. Some are still in their houses/studios but others have not been that fortunate, everyone carrying on though in their new circumstances in one way or another. The eastside of Christchurch has always had a proportionately larger population of artists, including: Colin McCahon, Bill Sutton, Rudolf Gopas, Doris Lusk, Tony Fomison, Rita Angus, Leo Benseman. The geographical area for “EASTSIDE” is roughly between Montreal Street / Bealey Avenue / Linwood Avenue / Ferry Road, The project, as an exhibition, is of 24 artist portraits, each a same size painting, 60 x 60 cm: acrylic on hessian on board.”

The exhibition EASTSIDE@ South Library runs until 8 November.

We also have a series of 3 quilts from Kathleen Burford titled: Lost Heritage recreated in Fabric. The quilts are based on the encaustic tiles on the front and side walls of the Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings. Kathleen worked from photographs to try and replicate the colour of the tiles.  Nelson quilter Bev Dyke helped with the machining. This exhibition is listed in the Reconnect experience heritage event programme and runs until 31 October.

Community connections

quilt photograph from Christchurch City Libraries FlickrTwenty libraries across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula is quite a formidable community network and these days they are all fairly humming with activities. Just taking a quick look at our Community Connections for adults programmes will give you the idea. There is a February/July programme well under way and while the bookable courses may be full up, there are always plenty of drop in opportunities to learn computer skills like this one at Central Peterborough Library.

Libraries have always been places of community. Librarians and customers get to know one another, reading suggestions, plants and cakes are swapped and lots of learning facilitated. Post earthquakes this seems more important than ever and these days you can pop in to your local library and find many useful things like Citizens Advice Bureau on site, J.P clinics, craft groups, card groups, book clubs and art displays. Just take a look at our Classes and events calendar.

Recently South Library hosted the Migrant Quilt Exhibition which has become a spectacular annual event and currently Upper Riccarton is hosting an exhibition by Chinese artist Xiao Hong Deng. (runs until May 1).

Soon our libraries will be resonating with dozens of free music events by local musicians for New Zealand Music Month.

Libraries in your community – there is always something going on.

It’s all about the writers

There is lots to look forward to in the The Press Christchurch Writers Festival and if you haven’t already booked some sessions I’d recommend you pop into one of our libraries and grab a programme. For me it’s a wonderful chance to listen to  a really standout bunch of local and international writers. I like that its based in a good central location – the GeoDome in Hagley Park, YMCA in Hereford Street and The George on Peterborough Street. Easy to walk from one venue to another.

Hearing  Joanne Drayton, Kate Grenville and John Lanchester will be highlights for me. The Ngaio Marsh award night with a debate  featuring lawyers and crime writers  sounds like fun. I haven’t been to a debate in years. Lawyers always fancy themselves in debates but I’d like to see the crime writers give them a run for their money.

Writers festivals give you a chance to challenge yourself – hearing a writer whose work you don’t know or trying a different kind of event.  This year’s festival has a film, some interesting exhibitions, youth events, drama and poetry and writer readings.

My challenge this time is to hear Chris Turney, a British geologist who particular interest is in past and future climates, how people have responded to change and recent human evolution and migration. He also features in a session on Antarctica with Veronika Meduna and Rebecca Priestly.

I’ve already seen the Anne Perry; interiors documentary and I’d recommend it as an interesting counterpoint to An hour with Joanne Drayton.

Finally I’m looking forward to two outings to interesting exhibitions. Pressed letters at Peterborough Library features some of the best examples of letterpress printing produced in New Zealand in recent times. This trip can be combined with a good look at the artwork on the exterior of the library and a visit to the coffee cart which is just across the road.

The other exhibition Biblia abiblia; books that are not books is a display of non-traditional techniques of bookmaking, creating altered books from volumes no longer in use at the CPIT library. Alongside the invited artists are student works from the Bachelor of Design course at CPIT and works from private collections and the CPIT Artwork Collection. You can combine this with an exploration of this interesting part of town – the Ng Gallery and some good cafes.

Painting a NZ Korean picture

Chichi Greemteo Painting ExhibitionArt exhibitions are not something that many people would immediately associate with libraries,  but then Christchurch City Libraries has always delighted in providing more than you think! 

So this month visitors to the library network are in for a double delight – while New Brighton Library is hosting the Bookish Artists exhibition, Upper Riccarton Library is featuring paintings by Chichi Geureemteo (i.e. Christchurch Art Gallery in Korean), a local Korean painting group.  The group has some 15-20 members who meet weekly at the library to work together.

The exhibition includes over 30 paintings depicting both New Zealand and Korean landscapes, as well as still life subjects, and there is some great talent on show.

But be quick to visit – the exhibition finishes on Sunday 24 October!

And if you are inspired to have a go at painting yourself, why not try some of the following links? 

Shelved Memories

For a dose of library nostalgia – and a peek at some of your library’s treasures – head over to Our City O-Tautahi and catch Christchurch City Libraries’ 150th anniversary exhibition, Shelved Memories. This exhibition brings together some interesting and unusual books from the Research Room of Christchurch City Libraries’ Aotearoa New Zealand Centre, along with archives, ephemera and memorabilia spanning the last 150 years of library service in Christchurch.

From old catalogue drawers, library smocks and storytime puppets to World War II ration books, 1981 Springbok Tour protest posters and the typescript for Margaret Mahy’s award-winning novel The Haunting, the exhibition provides a fascinating look at the story of our libraries. Check out excerpts from the library news-clippings scrapbooks and photo archives – glimpses into the interesting, often quirky and sometimes controversial life and history of Christchurch City Libraries.

While there you can also have a look at a 220 year-old geographical encyclopaedia, read the “in-house” newsletters produced on Scott’s Antarctic expeditions or peruse the fashions of the 1920s and 30s with The Ladies’ Mirror – just a few of the treasures from our Research Room.

The Libraries’ Research Room material and archives are searchable on the Christchurch City Libraries catalogue and available to view on request at the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre, Central Library, Monday to Friday 9am to 9pm and Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm.

Shelved Memories runs at Our City O-Tautahi, cnr Worcester Boulevard and Oxford Terrace, until 8 October 2009.