The South Island was looking very good – and the art mostly familiar. Visiting the Forrester Gallery in Oamaru is always a treat with the mix of familiar and not so. The open storage area is fine and of course I was attracted to the Hotere. The downstairs exhibition Public Good Private Good was lovely – 2 each of Hotere, Webb, Harris, Tristtrum and George Chance. Harris’s Betrayal made me feel deeply anxious. The gallery steps are a pain but the hazardous trip is worth the effort. It was good to find (with help) the gallery/collective upstairs in the old part of Oamaru filled with art of Donna Dimente. That was a treat. In Dunedin the Hocken was showing an interesting Anne Shelton exhibition. I loved her impression of stacks and the arrangements of images ….almost uncurated but of course that was the point. Another opportunity to see more of Hotere was provided as well as a stack or two of McCahons. At the Christchurch Art Gallery I had time for a quick trip to the oddly fascinating Fiona Hall exhibition.

Meanwhile Otago and Canterbury were looking lovely dry hills, distant blues…..and the people I meet up with were wonderful, happy and hospitable. The people in the street of Oamaru looked…sad and miserable but Dunedin seemed less strainedly Presbyterian and more jolly than I recall. Jenny Shipley still haunts Christchurch in the form of matrons who seem to be telling you that you’ll get what you’re given and like it…but maybe that’s just my jaded impression.

Good to see friends building houses, selling houses and enjoying their houses. And of course I am now the proud owner of a Sarndra Smith Recreation. 🙂


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