Whakanuia: 6 Things Not to Miss in Hamilton
The city's not dead, you're just not looking. Kirikiriroa is ablaze with exciting art offerings.
If Kirikiriroa Hamilton is not high on your list of national art centres then it should be. Hamilton’s creative pulse is strong and one of the best things about spending time there is because of the size it’s easy to make your way around to its many offerings. Artist-run project spaces Tacit and Skinroom are always worth popping into; the annual Hamilton Garden Arts Festival is a great whanau event and will be back next year, and RAMP Festival (formally Spark Festival) with its killer line-up of local and international speakers from across disciplines is worth keeping an eye out for in a few months’ time.
In the meantime, we’ve done the hard work for you and put together a list of 6 events, shows and art hubs that we’re excited about.
The Life and Times of Scarface Claw
25 January – 12 May, Waikato Museum Te Whare Taonga o Waikato
Fierce on the outside and soft underneath, Scarface Claw takes centre stage in his very own exhibition – The Life and Times of Scarface Claw – featuring more than 40 original watercolour illustrations painted by Dame Lynley Dodd. While this might not your usual radar for arts experiences, if you are looking for kid-friendly arts excursions then this one is well worth heading over to (even if the big kid is really just you). Beyond reminiscing over a familiar character, it’s great to see an illustrator getting the credit they’re due but hardly ever seem receive, especially given the popularity and lifespan of their works.
“If the brush is correct, the mind is correct”
19 April – 11 May, Freit Contemporary Gallery
The first performance by Dominique Marriott as part of the exhibition “If the brush is correct, the mind is correct” came onto my Instagram feed and it looked magnetising. Training under Akiko Crowther, one of the few Grand Masters of Japanese Calligraphy living outside Japan, Marriott is largely influenced by Zen and Eastern philosophy. A large volume of work is created in a session, then the best are selected to be final artworks. Visitors will see the failures, the successes, and the energy behind her art.
The Meteor Theatre
Rather than picking just one show coming up at The Meteor Theatre, I thought it would be better to just point to their whole programme. The have a number of upcoming local productions, which are definitely worth supporting, as well as a bunch of touring works, including a dance piece by Black Grace and Cellfish (which I saw when it was produced by Silo Theatre and would highly recommend!).
Present Tense: Wāhine Toi Aotearoa
29 April – 24 May, RAMP Gallery
Present Tense: Wāhine Toi Aotearoa records the current landscape of women in design, giving visibility to the unsung diversity of design in Aotearoa. Organised by the group behind Designers Speak (Up), the exhibition brings together a selection of posters by women who are using the medium to explore and address any social, cultural, or political issue of their choice.
11 May, 10:00 am – 3:00 pm, The Meteor Theatre
Who doesn’t love a zinefest? The 6th annual Hamilton Zinefest is right on our doorstep. Showcasing local zinemakers (as well those from rest of Aotearoa and further afield), the market day is sure to be chocka with unique and sought-after zines. Throughout the day Dylan Horrocks, Hannah Salmon aka Daily Secretion and Mark Servian will give talks – and better yet the whole thing is free! Bonus – there’s an after party, too.
Unruly Narrative: Storytelling in art: poetic responses
24 April – 14 June, Calder and Lawson Gallery
Pairing poets from Mayhem, the University of Waikato literary journal, with selected artworks from the University of Waikato Art Collection, Unruly Narrative presents the original artworks alongside the ekphrastic poems written in response (Thomasin Sleigh wrote brilliantly about ekphrasis in her essay ‘Every Story Tells a Picture’). I love a good cross-artform collaboration and the amazing line up of artists and poets involved in this won’t surely won’t disappoint.
Cover image: Aisha Roberts, 'Quality Time' 2012, Digital Photographic Print, University of Waikato Art Collection