Local Heart, Global Soul

October 19, 2019

These Fish Out Of Water Are Doing Fine…

Papier-mâché is an incredible material, I learned that it could even be steam pressed into shapes like trays, something that was especially popular in the Victorian era. It’s also really deceptive: objects are so much lighter than they appear, in fact you find your hand flying upwards when you pick something up to take a closer look, your mind having been ready to move something much heavier.

Peter, the owner and creator of these pieces, exhibited them with several other artists in a friends home for one of the “Parels” (Pearls) events in The Hague. Artists, collectors and creative people open their homes for a day, or two, over the Pearls Weekend so that the general public can enjoy and discover local creative talent.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 10, 2019

My Tourist Trap Treasure…

About ten years ago I bought this little print from a flee market in the Hague. The Lange Voorhout is a tourist trap as far as curios and antiques are concerned and nothing is particularly cheap, but as is the way with these things, I saw this and fell in love. I’m a detail fanatic, I adore the scrolls, the patterns in the background, dress, and side panels. It’s also lovely to see a babies head pop out of this very flat surface and quirky arrangement of the entire thing. It’s a religious piece of course, and whilst I do have faith I have no clue what the meaning is behind this picture. It’s in glass so the photographs were terrible to take, and I should probably take it somewhere to see if anything can be done about the dark spots splattered around the outer edges. It’s probably not worth enough to have expensive restoration done on it, it might even just be a page out of a religious book or  magazine.

I daren’t open up the carefully sealed and obviously old backing papers; if I have learned anything from antique TV programmes is that clueless amateurs have destroyed priceless objects with their “little clean-ups, cutting, plugging, sanding, gluing mending jobs and dabs of cleaning stuff that the internet told them would “be perfect for the job”. Nope, I’m not kidding myself, this is not in any way a priceless object, it’s of miniscule financial value and it is probably not to many people’s taste, but I love it so the sentimental value of my little treasure is indeed priceless.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 8, 2019

How Much Do You Want To Scare The Kids?

The next thing to catch my eye for my arty reference files during the Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition in 2017 is this large garden urn. I’m supposing that you have the option to use the top basin with water inside as a bird bath as well, but these plants set it of beautifully as a planter. I was not just interested in the ribbon and fruit decoration on the north/south faces of it, but also in the fact that if you turn it to face either the east/west sides, you get an entirely different vista” with the face of a very angry looking ram. I suppose that if you have a garden and put this inside, which “face” points outwards depends entirely on how much you want to scare the kids.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 7, 2019

Birds Swing Rather Than Fly…

The 2017 Garderen Sand Sculpture exhibition has an outside area around the entrance where all varieties of garden ornaments can be fund for sale. In this particular year birds were a popular theme and so I got a closer look at some of them.

The first one swings with a sort of pendulum effect on it’s base, The others don’t move but are beautifully decorative in their own quirky way. I love how they have been put together, the added elements like the glass “eye” beads and the glasses. Of course, if you are talking about birds then maybe there is also a chat somewhere about the birds and the bees… since the exhibition included one of those too!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

April 2, 2019

Bettcha You Can’t Do THIS On A 3D Printer!

The Mauritshuis in The Hague doesn’t just have exceptional paintings on show: there are also beautiful works in stone. I am a tad confused by the “Copy After” in the short information panel that was nearby. Does this mean I was looking at the copy, or did it mean that Eggers was modelling his representation of Maurits on some earlier piece by someone else that I didn’t see mentioned?

The name further down on the plinth says: “Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679)’ which pretty much duplicates the information on the accompanying Information panel, so I am not immediately (or later for that matter), any the wiser.

Either way, what I see before me is nothing short of amazing… Bettcha can’t do this on a 3D printer!

Bartholomeus Eggers (c1637-1692) (Copy After) Bust of Johan Maurits, Count of Nassau-Siegen (1604-1679) Sculpted 1664.”

 

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

February 8, 2019

Stadhuis Rooms…

Other parts of Zierikzee’s Gemeente Stadhuis (City council / Town Hall) that I managed to visit during the 2017 Easter break, were several beautiful rooms. However I didn’t see all of the Stadhuis by any means because of time constraints, mostly due to my taking time out to keep sitting down to have a rest. One room has a large piece that has been made with thousands of sea shells. Marble pieces above the fireplaces are also amazing…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 5, 2018

Ssshh…Nothing To See Here!

I wish we had had a little more time in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square. This intriguing blue box is something that will apparently take you on a tour of various city artworks.  If I understand it correctly it is sort of an arty puzzle or treasure hunt. This very blue box tells us: “nothing to see here“, so maybe the casual passer-by would assume that it’s just here to make you think, or at least wonder, is this a practical joke, or something more? I think that it may be a play on words, there might be nothing to see here, but plenty to see all around the city. I regret not looking at this more carefully, and not following up on where a push of a button may have taken me.  I rushed past this one without investigating fully. I will add the photographs, and leave you to make up your mind… is this a puzzle, or a treasure-hunt guidebook to arty treasures?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

September 3, 2018

A Cairn To Inform, So That Rocks Do Not Build Into Walls To Divide Us…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

My father is a fisherman, well sort of a “semi-retired’ one these days since he no longer goes out very much, but one thing I have heard him complain about for years is the amount of irrigation water farmers do and want to take more of, from the big Canterbury rivers each year, regardless of how high or low the river levels are.

River levels are partly determined by rainfall in the Southern Alps, partly by small springs and the rest by snow melt, but as everyone knows, weather patterns have not recently been what they were a century or even half a century ago.

I had thought that this was an old issue and one that had been long since sorted, until I heard about the sharp rise of dairy farming in the South Island.

Historically most of the South Island’s dairy industry has been located in Southland, at the bottom of the island where copious rainfall grows lush grass for the livestock, so I assumed that expansion had taken place here.

Instead I was horrified to hear that it was taking place in the Mckenzie Country, where sunshine hours abounded but in the driest area of the South Island. Where was the water coming from for pastureland? It’s being taken from the rivers.

It’s being taken not just in small quantities either, it appear that the farming industry is hell-bent on using every last drop of water if they see a short term profit in it.

For me this goes deeply against the grain, my ideology here is very much aligned with that of Maori; we should stewards of the land and not masters of it. We should surly use resources wisely and leave the earth in good shape for future generations, or most preferably; in even better shape.

Not only is the McKenzie Country area one of outstanding natural beauty, it also an important one for tourism and furthermore has it’s own ecosystems, flora and fauna, and weather patterns that it is famous for.This is the area of New Zealand closest to my heart and the thought of it being messed with like this makes me very angry. It was therefore to my horror that I read the messages attached to this cairn in Christchurch’s Cathedral Square. I can but hope that the environmentalists and people supporting them can persuade the government to overturn this policy in farming that can only harm the natural landscape and the countries long term future.

I’m not sure if readers find the text on the plaques easy to read or not: I’ve written it out in typed text to make it easier for anyone who may find it difficult.

‘In order to advance the massive irrigation schemes proposed for the Canterbury Plains, the hard won conservation orders on our headwaters have been disestablished, our elected Enironment council have been diembodied, and our right to appeal to the Environment court has been removed. Indeed, Cantabrians are now subject to laws seperate fom any other province of our country: This is a breach of the Bill of Rights and its principles of natural justice. It is the will of the people who built this cairn that it remains here until democracy entire is returned to us.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

A visiting tour group getting information about the history of Canterbury, Cathedral Square etc…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

” A cairn by tradition is a mound of stones at the edge of a river by which travellers in the high country indicate a place of departure and a place to regain the shore. This cairn is constructed of boulders from the Rakaia, Selwyn, Waimakarari and Hurunui rivers and has been placed here by citizens concerned that democratically evolved protections of these waterways have been broken. This cairn is a marker, it marks the river of unease that presently flows through our community, a river whose turbulent waters threaten to divide us.”

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

August 27, 2018

A Triangular Threesome Of Trees, Scores Points With Me…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

There are some new decorative pieces in Cathedral square from when we were here last.

I have a bit of a “thing” about trees and leaves at the moment, and keep a small box of dried leaves, acorns and a few twigs so that I can practice drawing.

I also take more than my fair share of photographs of trees for the same reason, it’s a fascination of form, texture and colours that for me at least never gets old.

It therefore pleases me to see a tree as one of these decorative forms, and in a way two, because the second “tree” is a sort-of-Christmas tree form, made of sheet music.

There the appeal is just the “old paper” look, it’s like viewing an old book, the kind in which the reader had to cut the pages before they could read.

The sheet music “tree” even has a top which extends past the top of the roof of the little kiosk it is located on. On the third side is another “tree” this time a very stylized one, consisting of a triangle made up of smaller triangles all in different colours.

It’s possible to walk inside this little booth, but stupidly at the moment I was going to move around and photograph the inside a tour group arrived and I got distracted. They all took up position just a few metres away from me, so naturally I could also hear the tour guides commentary.

I have to confess at this point that since it was early morning, quiet and with not too many other people around, I became guilty of eavesdropping on the information provided and it was a very interesting commentary too.

Much of it I already knew: the history of the “First Four Ships” that bought the original white settlers, their journey over the steep bridle path track over the Port Hills, but there were other snippets that were new and since they were literally metres away from me, well, my ears could not help but flap… just a little. A short time later when I was inside the “marae” (Maori meeting house structure covered in grasses, directly in front of the Cathedral, I ended up answering a few questions of several of the tour group as they explored around this area of the Square on their own. It was a mixed nationality group of mostly younger people and they were on a whirlwind tour of the city as part of their trip. They would have an afternoon to themselves later so I recommended the Gondola on the Port Hills as a possible excursion. Meanwhile the group had split up and were busy looking at the Cathedral, murals, information boards and statues in the immediate area.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

June 15, 2018

Not Quite A Certificate Of Truth…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I mentioned a few posts ago that the Centennial celebrations that took place in New Zealand in 1940 were heavily balanced in favour of Pākehā (white) settlers who had more or less comfortable lives, land, jobs and social mobility.

Maori on the other hand, had less access to higher education, social, economic, and financial opportunities so the sweeping statements that generalized the ideal that everything was rosy in paradise was far from the truth, Ugly truths were swept under the carpet and a bright smile was exhibited for the outside world.

There is no point in pretending that all was wonderful in New Zealand in the 1940’s but it’s also an ideal that was the product of its time, and I hope that we have come a long, long way from that situation in 2018.

Purely from an artistic point of view I was attracted to this document, a “New Zealand Centennial Exhibition, Certificate of Attendance November 1939.” which was on display at the Petone Settlers Museum when Himself and I visited just after Christmas in 2017.

I like the mixture of western and Māori motifs and the central figure that reminds me a little bit of the female figure from the Colombia Pictures Film company logo.

In 1940 New Zealand was of course still heavily bonded with “Mother England” so the cape-like flags that fall either side of the figure feature even a fraction more of the Union Jack than they do of the New Zealand flag.

The illustration is very much of its time, but it is the inclusion of the Māori and very “New Zealand” motifs around the border and illustrated within the central panel of the certificate that I like the most.

I’m also struck that it’s a very “official” looking document for something seemingly as mundane as an entry ticket, especially when I read the accompanying information: “The jewel in the centennial crown was the New Zealand Centennial Exhibition. Running from 8 November 1939 to 4 May 1940, it sprawled over 55 acres of land in Rongotai, Wellington. 2.5 million visitors came to the event, at a time when New Zealand’s population was only 1.6 million people.

Obviously with 55 acres the physical size of the exhibition meant that it could not be covered completely in one day, so many people probably did half one day and the other half in subsequent days, helping to tot up such massive admission numbers.

With rumblings of war in Europe, the mood of patriotism was probably very high at the time as well as many New Zealand young men prepared to fight for “Queen and Country”. Who knows, many of those young men may well have come to Wellington to join ships sailing for Europe and visited the centennial Exhibition before departure. It’s an interesting piece of art, which if you think deeper about it represented in fact many lies told at the time to both Māori and Pākehā, many of which sacrificed their lives for “Mother England” within a very short time of this Exhibition.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petone_Settlers_Museum
Wikipedia / Petone Settlers Museum / History / New Zealand

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