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NZ earthquake and miners featured in Sydney art exhibition

New Zealand artist Lisa Wisse’s emotive exhibition features special works highlighting the massive Christchurch earthquake as well as the plight of miners.

13 December 2010

Wisse is regarded as one of the top contemporary Kiwi artists whose works are highly sought-after.

NZexhibition_pikeriverIn the exhibition at Sydney’s Arthouse in Pitt Street, which runs till 13 February, Wisse has used elements of the land, fertile vineyards, flowing foothills, sculptured urns moulded from the clay of the earth.

“I have included cracks and scarred land patterns, representing the Christchurch earthquake of 4 September which I lived through. We are still having aftershocks which instil fear on a daily basis,” she says.

“My life has changed irreversibly since September and I have portrayed the survival process by the inclusion of fragments of beauty found in each piece, a touch of luminous gold, the perfect skeleton of a fallen leaf -always seeing beauty and positivity.”

The 7.1 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, on 4 September is expected to cost the country up to $6 billion.

Wisse also recently paid tribute to the 29 Pike River coal miners who perished in the NZ mining tragedy with a painting gifted to the West Coast community.

Wisse of Christchurch handed the painting over to Grey district mayor Tony Kokshoorn as a homage to the miners and those affected by the Pike river mining disaster.

Wisse said she wanted the painting to be hung publicly as a visual memorial to the tragedy so visitors to Greymouth could pay their respects. She will also produce a special 500 print edition of the original painting with proceeds going to the mining disaster fund.

“I used the symbolic form of a strong, weathered mature tree, silhouetted against the early dawn light to represent your strong fathers, sons and husbands who left early to work deep in the earth on 19 November,” she said in a note to the miners’ families attached to the painting.

“I have recorded 29 words mentioned by the Pike River chief executive and the mayor to remember, giving strength and solace to not only the families but to the entire nation.”

The 29 words are: miners, confusion, terror, pain, bravery, families, sons, brothers, fathers, husbands, anger, frustration, fighters, strength, tears, heartbreak, grief, vigil, sorrow, prayers, stoic, friends, tragedy, solidarity, heartwarming, future, love, resilience, memories.

Wisse is renowned for her modern depiction of New Zealand landscape including pohutukawa and emotive landscapes.

She also gifted a painting recently to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the senator’s visit to NZ. Wisse has been one of New Zealand’s most prolific artists of the last 10 years. She has exhibited her work throughout New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK and also has her paintings among private collections in New York, Australia and the UK.

Lisa Wisse exhibition runs 14 December 2010 to 13 February 2011 at the Arthouse, Pitt St, Sydney.


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