Safia Archer’s weekly arts diary

Merging the traditional with digital, Sculpt Oneroa is poised to showcase the island’s artistic talent, with the much anticipated opening of its annual exhibition next weekend.

Along with established artists, curators and organisers of the exhibition Sally Smith and Paora Toi Te Rangiuaia have been working with Waiheke High School’s current and former students to produce multimedia artworks.

Every year, Sculpt Oneroa leaves it open to the artists to interpret what they feel is relevant to them or to respond to the location at hand, Sally says.

“The difference this year is that we have invited former Waiheke High School student Reuben Shortland to curate a collection of animations, photographs and digital artworks created by either current or former students currently studying at tertiary level.”

The works will be shown on screen in Toi Gallery, and they hope to make it a permanent fixture of the exhibition moving forward, providing a platform for island youth.

This year’s artists are Barbara Robinson, Belinda Fabris, Michael McDonald, Maria Lloyd, Paora Toi Te Rangiuaia, Jay Lloyd, Karl Baxter, James Wright, Nico Otero, Daniel Johner, Sally Lornie, John Freeman, Oliver Stretton Pow,Nigel Scanlon, along with Waiheke High School former and current students Reuben Shortland, Michaela Dodd, Mika O’Brien, Hank Lloyd, Tom Burn, Anabelle Ross, Bella Hessell, Jaz Caitcheon, Jemilah Ross-Hayes, Kiva Harrison-Hughes, Eva Blok and Leslie Han.

Through Sally and Paora’s involvement with the school arts department, and as current and past members of the school board, they saw the event as an opportunity to provide a platform for local students and showcase their works to the community.

They approached teachers Annie Melchior and Linda McKelvie, inviting them to provide pieces from current students, and Waiheke High alumnus Reuben Shortland, who is currently studying a bachelor of digital design at AUT.

Reuben invited fellow students to submit works and has since taken on the role of curating the digital collection.

“This whole new area of creating artworks using digital tools rather than the more traditional physical tools has been fully embraced by our youth,” Sally says. “The high quality of work that they are creating is really impressive.”

Sculpt Oneroa is both for the local community, to inject some art into the village, and an opportunity to celebrate resident artists, Sally says, “but also a way of showcasing some of the leading art talent we have living on Waiheke to the many national and international visitors we have coming to the island over summer”.

Paora says the Sculpt Oneroa initiative is one of two they are wanting to run with the high school every year.

“Having seen the amazing artwork created at the high school by the students over the many years, Sally and I were determined that more people needed to be exposed to these talented young artists.”

Next year Sculpt Oneroa will work with the art department to bring local artists into the school to run workshops with students, with the hope that these initiatives will help art students gain confidence in pursuing an art practice.

The opening event is at 6pm on Saturday 16 December at Paora’s courtyard, under Solar in Oneroa. •

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