Emotions on the canvas across the Tasman

Two recent incidents that devastated us as a Nation and demonstrated to the world that we are of a society of people went on display as works of art across the Tasman on December 14.

The emotive exhibition, by Christchurch based artist Lisa Wisse will run at the Arthouse Hotel on Pitt Street in Sydney until February 13.

Among them will be Pike River 29, in memory of the 29 miners who perished in the tragedy near Greymouth last month and the Christchurch Earthquake, which destroyed several properties on September 4, 2010.

Earlier, Ms Wisse presented the Pike River painting to Grey District Mayor Tony Kokshoorn as homage to the miners and others affected by the disaster.

In a note to the families of the deceased miners, Lisa said, “I have 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 November 19.”

“The painting is a gift to the West Coast community. I wanted it to be on public display as a visual memorial to the tragedy so that visitors to Greymouth could pay their respects,” she said.

About 500 prints of the original painting will be on sale in New Zealand and Australia, the proceeds from which will go the Mining Disaster Fund.

Ms Wisse said she has recorded 29 words mentioned by the Pike River Chief Executive Peter Whittall and Mr Kokshoorn “giving strength and solace to not only the families but also to the entire nation.’’

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

Shattering Disaster

Ms Wisse said the earthquake also had deep impact on her life, which she said had changed irreversibly over the past three months.

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

The 7.1 earthquake mercifully spared human lives but destroyed several properties. The cost of reconstruction is estimated at $6 billion.

“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,” Lisa said.

A gift to Hillary

Ms Wisse presented a painting to the US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her recent visit to New Zealand. Titled, ‘Toward Tranquil Water,’ it represented peaceful relations between New Zealand and the US.

“Hillary particularly enjoyed viewing my work on one of her previous visits to New Zealand while at a gallery in Queenstown. I was delighted that she could take home a piece of New Zealand on canvas,” she said.

Ms Wisse uses elements of the land, fertile vineyards, flowing foothills, sculptured urns moulded from the clay of the earth in her paintings.

Renowned for her modern depiction of New Zealand landscape including pohutukawa and emotive landscapes, Ms Wisse is among the top contemporary Kiwi artists whose works are in high demand.

Her works often consist of warm tones and golden hues, bringing an earthiness to the canvas that is like no other.

As one of New Zealand’s most prolific artists, her paintings have been on public display throughout New Zealand, Australia, Canada and the UK. Her paintings are also among private collections in New York, Australia and the UK.


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